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The rate of energy metabolized
by an organism is the most common physiological variable known as the metabolic
rate (Willmer et al., 2005).  The
metabolic rate is determined by the amount of oxygen consumed or carbon dioxide
produced (Willmer et al., 2005). The metabolic rate can be used to determine
the Respiratory Quotient (RQ), which is used in cases where the diet of the organism
is unknown (Willmer et al., 2005).  RQ is
the ratio of CO2 produced to O2 consumed (Willmer et al.,
2005). The RQ value can help determine whether the main energy fuel is obtained
from a diet rich in fatty acids or carbohydrates. If the RQ value is 0.7, it
indicates that fatty acids were metabolized, whereas an RQ of 1.0 indicates
that carbohydrates were broken down for energy (Willmer et al., 2005). In this
experiment, the effect diet has on metabolic rates in Tenebrio molitor (mealworms) was examined. The mealworms were separated
into two groups; group 1 was fed a high protein diet and group 2 was fed a low
protein diet. Group 1’s diet also contained high fats and carbohydrates. The experiment
will also investigate how the different diets will result in different RQ
values. Group 2 is predicted to have a higher RQ compared to group 1, due to
the lower intake of fats. This prediction may be supported by the results of
similar experiments conducted to determine the effect of diet on metabolic and
respiratory quotient rates. One experiment investigated if a diet of fish oil,
which is high in carbohydrates and fats, would influence the oxidation in
healthy adults (Couet et al., 1997). Couet et al. (1997) conducted an
experiment where six adults were fed a controlled diet of visible fats over a
period of three weeks, which was later replaced with fish oil for another
period of three weeks. Couet et al. (1997) found that the increase in fish oil
did not significantly affect body mass, however there was a lower basal
respiratory quotient observed with the fish oil. Another experiment with
similar results was conducted where the metabolism of twelve healthy women was
measured after being fed a high protein diet (Lejuene et al., 2006). The twelve
women were randomly assigned to either a high protein diet or an adequate
protein diet, high in carbohydrates and fat (Lejuene et al., 2006). Lejuene et
al. (2006) found that the respiratory quotient was lower in the high protein
diet compared to the adequate protein diet by a significant amount. A third
experiment by Vu et al. (2017) studied the metabolic rates of mice when fed a
high protein diet versus a controlled diet for 12 weeks, and compared the
resulting RQ values. Vu et al. (2017) found that the mice on the high protein
diet had significantly lower levels of energy intake, energy production and respiratory
quotient values compared to the mice on the control diet. The results of these
three experiments can support the prediction that the group with a high protein
diet in the current experiment will have lower respiratory quotient levels
compared to the group with a low protein diet.

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