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Whole Body Calorimetry (WBC)

Whole Body Calorimeters, often called a Respiration Chamber, are an airtight room large enough to contain a human test subject, in which O2 consumption and CO2 production is continuously measured by analysing the differential concentration of gas between the air flowing into and out of the chamber.

cogsHow does it work?

Within an airtight 14 m3 room, which contains a bed, desk, scales, computer, lavatory and exercise equipment, the respiratory behaviour of human subjects can be analysed for up to 24 hour periods. The respiration rate is calculated using an indirect calorimetric principle based on the dynamic changing balance of CO2 and O2 concentrations in the sealed room. When this is combined with additional measurements such as urine samples, the type of nutrients (such as fats, carbohydrates or proteins) used to create the energy can be found.


Studies that allow understanding of how food, physical activity and other behaviours including sleep affect body weight. Further studies include understanding how biomarkers for metabolic disorders identified in complimentary studies affect body weight. Finally, investigation of real time changes in metabolic function associated with diabetes and obesity.

Sample handling requirements:

Fit, healthy human subject, comfortable with extended periods (1 hour-24 hours) contained in a small room.

Complementary techniques:


Warwick Capability:

Maastrict Instuments BV Dual Chamber Whole Body Calorimeter


Dr Debbie Girdlestone, 078 2454 1198, email

Warwick Whole Body Calorimeter

Typical results format, and sample:

WBC calorimetry output


green_tick.gif Warwick collect/analyse data

Warwick collect data
 green_tick.gif Available to user with expertise/ contribution
 green_tick.gif Spare capacity for collaborative research