Feed digestion

  • Feed additives

Intensive animal production is considered to be a major cause of environmental pollution. Enzymes may be used for upgrading feedstuffs, lowering N excretion and also as alternatives for antibiotics in combination with special fat sources. NSP-ases have been studied in pre-digestion experiments in order to upgrade fibre containing raw materials and to release fibre bound N and amino acids. The in situ release of antimicrobial medium chain fatty acids by specific lipases from specific fat sources was studied in relation to the gut microbial ecology and health and the energy supply of the piglet. Proteases, all or not in combination with NSP-ases, have been studied especially in relation to the increased use of plant protein sources, focusing on lowering the antigenic protein content in legume seeds by appropriate protease treatment or supplementation in piglet nutrition.

  • Insect material as feed ingredient

Insects are able to convert low value biomass into high quality protein, which is a potential alternative for the expensive and low sustainable traditional protein sources in animal feeds. Black soldier fly and mealworm are interesting species for this purpose. However, many research questions are unresolved. E.g. what is the nutritional composition of the black soldier fly larvae and mealworm and how is this affected by the substrate composition? What is the digestibility of insect material? What processing is needed to include insect material in compound feeds and to guarantee safety?

Projects relating to these fields of research

  • Insects as sustainable feed ingredient (UGent, Department of Animal Production, Department of Crop Protection, Department of Applied Biosciences)