Metabolite Profiles of Male and Female Humboldt Penguins

Jeffrey M. Levengood, David J. Schaeffer, Alexander V. Ulanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined 185 metabolites in 30 adult Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) nesting at the Punta San Juan Marine Protected Area, Peru, in order to examine gender differences in metabolome profiles, particularly those involved in metabolism and energetics. The majority of the compounds identified were fatty (26% of total identified compounds), organic (19%), and amino (16%) acids. We were able to differentiate male and female penguins with 96.6% accuracy on the basis of 12 metabolites, most of which are involved in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. These included 2-oxoglutarate, erythronic acid, GABA, mannitol, sedoheptulose 7-phosphate, and serine and six metabolites present in higher concentrations in females compared to males (2-aminoadipic acid, O-phosphorylethanolamine, glycerol 2-phosphate, glycerol 3-phosphate, pantothenic acid, and creatinine). Of these, 2-oxoglutarate and glycerol 3-phosphate were key metabolites distinguishing gender. Our results indicated that male and female Humboldt Penguins were characterized by differing metabolic states. Such differences could be important to individual and brood survival in times of environmental stress.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-362
Number of pages14
JournalVeterinary Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • 2-oxoglutarate
  • Gender
  • Glycerol 3-phosphate
  • Humboldt Penguin
  • Metabolome
  • Spheniscus humboldti

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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