International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 62, Issue 5, pp 723–731 | Cite as

Thermal balance of Nellore cattle

  • Cíntia Carol de Melo Costa
  • Alex Sandro Campos Maia
  • Sheila Tavares Nascimento
  • Carolina Cardoso Nagib Nascimento
  • Marcos Chiquitelli Neto
  • Vinícius de França Carvalho Fonsêca
Special Issue: Latin America/Caribbean


This work aimed at characterizing the thermal balance of Nellore cattle from the system of indirect calorimetry using a facial mask. The study was conducted at the Animal Biometeorology Laboratory of the São Paulo State University, Jaboticabal, Brazil. Five male Nellore weighing 750 ± 62 kg, at similar ages and body conditions were distributed in four 5 × 5 Latin squares (5 days of records and five schedules) during 20 days. Physiological and environmental measurements were obtained from the indirect calorimetry system using a facial mask. Respiratory parameters, hair coat, skin, and rectal temperature were continuously recorded. From this, metabolic heat production, sensible and latent ways of heat transfer were calculated. Metabolic heat production had an average value of 146.7 ± 0.49 W m−2 and did not change (P > 0.05) over the range of air temperature (24 to 35 °C). Sensible heat flow reached 60.08 ± 0.81 W m−2 when air temperature ranged from 24 to 25 °C, being negligible in conditions of temperature above 33 °C. Most of the heat produced by metabolism was dissipated by cutaneous evaporation when air temperature was greater than 30 °C. Respiratory parameters like respiratory rate and ventilation remained stable (P > 0.05) in the range of temperature studied. Under shade conditions and air temperature range from 24 to 35 °C, metabolic heat production, respiratory rate, and ventilation of mature Nellore cattle remain stable, which is indicative of low energetic cost to the thermoregulation.


Thermoregulation Indirect calorimetry Metabolic heat production Latent heat loss Sensible heat flux 



This study was supported by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP), process numbers 2011/17388-6 and 2011/16695-2.

Compliance with ethical standards

This research was reviewed and approved by the Sao Paulo State University Animal Care and Use Committee before the study started (Process number: 17.519/14).


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Copyright information

© ISB 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cíntia Carol de Melo Costa
    • 1
  • Alex Sandro Campos Maia
    • 1
  • Sheila Tavares Nascimento
    • 2
  • Carolina Cardoso Nagib Nascimento
    • 1
  • Marcos Chiquitelli Neto
    • 3
  • Vinícius de França Carvalho Fonsêca
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Animal Biometeorology, Animal Science DepartmentSao Paulo State UniversityJaboticabalBrazil
  2. 2.Faculty of Agronomy and Veterinary MedicineUniversidade de BrasíliaBrasíliaBrazil
  3. 3.Biology and Animal Science DepartmentSao Paulo State UniversityIlha SolteiraBrazil

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