Results from vitamin B12 response trials are used to illustrate a methodology which it is claimed will provide a more useful interpretation of animal tissue analyses for the diagnosis of trace element deficiencies. Traditional reference ranges which divide tissue levels into the categories of responsive, marginal, and adequate are replaced by reference curves which, for a given tissue level, provide the expected response and the probability of an 'economic response. The approach should provide farmers and veterinarians with better information to decide on remedial action. The prospects look promising for the production of reference curves for cobalt and selenium, and hopeful for copper. It is suggested that the methodology could be applied in other biological systems involving deficiencies, in particular, to the diagnosis of phosphorus and other deficiencies in plants.

RG, Clark, and NR Towers

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 44, , 143-146, 1984
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