The recent availability of a small compact sealed tube neutron generator, incorporating an associated-particle alpha detector, makes it feasible to measure the concentrations of C, N and O in the body with a very low dose of ionising radiation. We describe this new technique and the equipment needed to use it for measuring body composition. Calibration data from a prototype instrument relate the counts of gamma rays due to C, N & O from phantoms to the number of incident 14 MeV neutrons and phantom mass. Applying the technique to one 29 kg Romney wether hogget, we estimated it contained 0.69 kg N, 5.52 kg C and 16.5 kg O. These results indicate that the technique holds promise for monitoring the body composition of paediatric and malnourished patients and for measuring the body composition of young experimental animals such as goats, pigs or sheep.

JE, Wolff, S Mitra, R Garrett, and PA Webb

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 56, , 212-215, 1996
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