Measurement of rates ofin vivo substrate oxidation such as that of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids, are based on tracer (14C or13C) data, and often depend on the isotopic content of expired CO2. The recovery of tracer-labelled CO2 generated from the oxidation of13C labelled substrates may not be 100% over short term. This can lead to underestimation of oxidation rate of substrates, and consequently a correction for the incomplete recovery of tracer has to be applied by the determination of the recovery of13CO2 in the breath during tracer bicarbonate infusions. We have studied the recovery of tracer-labelled bicarbonate using a bolus administration model, and further characterized kinetics of bicarbonate using a three-compartment model, to assess which compartmental fluxes changed during the change from a fasted state to fed state. Recovery of bicarbonate was lower at 69% and 67% (fasted and fed state) than the value of 71% and 74% found during earlier longer term of continuous infusions. During feeding, there was a 20-fold increase in the flux of bicarbonate between the central compartment and the compartment that was equivalent to the viscera. This study shows that the difference between the fasted and fed state recovery of tracer bicarbonate similar to that obtained with continuous infusions, and that bicarbonate fluxes show large changes between different compartments in the body depending on metabolic state.