Issue 7-8/2012

Developments in the field of animal nutrition

Targeted feed supplies for productive livestock in line with performance are important not only for the main nutrients as the key to efficient feeding, but also for those substances that have to be supplied in smaller doses via the feed, namely the trace elements. Dosing trace elements generally walks the tightrope between undersupply and oversupply.

» Iodine in animal feed
Transfer into milk and eggs

Iodine (I) is a trace element that is essential for humans and animals. Foods of animal origin, alongside sea fish above all milk and eggs, make essential contributions to iodine supplies in humans. On the other hand, the narrow margin between iodine demand and tolerable maximum levels in humans does not rule out oversupply. For this reason comprehensive dose-effect experiments have been carried out at the FLI, taking various factors influencing the iodine transfer into account. This article reports on results with dairy cows and layer hens.

» New generation of organic trace minerals
A considerable step in the nutrition of farm animals

For many years animal feed has been, and still is, supplemented with inorganic sources of trace mineral salts (ITM) such as Zinc-Oxide or Cu-Sulphate. Improvements in the genetic potential of animals increased performance and resulted in higher nutritional requirement for trace minerals. In addition observations such as lameness in dairy cows, high involuntary culling in sows, food pat lesions in poultry and poor egg shell quality can be linked to an inadequate mineral supply. Concerns about animal health and welfare and the consequent effect on animal performance have lead to the development of various so called organic trace minerals (OTM) with the objective to maximize their bio efficacy.

» Optimal copper supply
New innovative Cu source

The importance of trace elements for the optimal maintenance of health and performance in livestock is often underestimated because trace elements perform very complex functions in the metabolism and deficiencies may lead to general disorders in animals. Specifically, copper plays an important role in the regulation of enzyme activities but also in iron metabolism (e.g. iron transport), the neutralization of free radicals, and the maturation of red blood cells and is essential for bone and cartilage metabolism. Additionally it has antimicrobial properties and the ability to modulate an immune response in monogastrics when fed on top of nutritional requirements.

» Improving nutrient utilization in piglets
A novel strategy with sweeteners

With the recent and projected increase in the human population and consequent demand for animal products worldwide, the identification of novel strategies to increase the efficiency of food production has become a major research focus. With respect to agricultural animals, optimization of animal health and nutrient utilization is a key component of improving production efficiency.

» Phoenix from the ashes
Animal feed in Weihenstephan gains new impetus

Professor Wilhelm Windisch has been Director of the Institute for Animal Nutrition at the Technical University Munich in Weihenstephan since October 2010. He plans to lead the Institute, whose activities were curtailed substantially after Professor Manfred Kirchgeßner retired, to new levels of success in teaching and research.