Massey University’s research expertise is in nutrition for animal growth efficiency and health. We research the nutrition and physiology of a number of species. We also investigate the quality and human health attributes of animal products. We work closely with producers and industry organisations to provide industry-relevant research and consultancy.

Research expertise

Bioactive food and feed ingredients

We develop and evaluate functional foods, and ingredients for the animal and human food industries. We also examine effects of nutrition on characteristics of animal-derived human foods, including taste, quality, yields, shelf life, health and sensory attributes.


Digestion and physiology

Research into physiology and metabolism develops our understanding of how food and nutrients are utilised. We use this knowledge to evaluate and guide decision making on selection of ingredients, processing of food, diet formulation, and environmental impacts. We also use this information to develop novel assays, particularly bioassays and models of gut and nutrient


Feed evaluation and additives

We have expertise in feed evaluation and characterisation, with in vitro and in vivo modelling as major research focuses.

We also work on testing and evaluating feed additives for their impact on digestive efficiency, gut flora and animal performance.


Feed processing and storage

Our research focuses on how animal health and nutrient uptake can be affected and optimised with different ingredients, processing, and management.

We provide feed evaluation and characterisation, with in vitro and in vivo modelling as major research foci.

We develop novel functional foods and ingredients for the human and animal food industries.


Modelling nutrient flow and growth

We are investigating growth and product quality in animals by developing growth models. All available information about nutrition, metabolism and genetics is synthesised, transformed into mathematical algorithms, and integrated into a simulation computer program.  


Nutrition for health

Improving animal health or human health with enriched animal product. We examine effects of animal nutrition on characteristics of animal-derived human foods, including taste, quality, yields, shelf life, and sensory attributes.


Production systems

Whole system evaluation of aspects such as food type, feeding techniques, housing and genetics on animal production performance. Researchers are investigating alternative herbages for sheep, dairy and beef cows and deer to increase animal production value.


Wildlife nutrition

Massey scientists are involved in research on the nutrition of both free-living and captive wildlife.

We study the micro- and macronutrient requirements of wildlife and how the gut processes nutrients. We also have expertise in the impact of foraging and feeding behaviour on wild animal health.

This includes research into optimal diets for breeding programmes, translocations and the critical care of wildlife species.


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Research projects


Animal feed testing service

Massey experts provide a processed animal food testing service. We adhere to industry standards such as AAFCO for feeding protocoI testing (growth, maintenance and gestation/lactation) and AAFCO nutrient profile testing. We can provide detailed reporting on measures such as metabolisable energy determination, urine pH and other urinary and blood metabolite measurements.

Contact David Thomas



    Facilities within FoodPILOT include equipment for both animal and human food production. Capability includes extrusion, ice-cream-making, sausage stuffing,vacuum packing, bowl chopping, spray drying, evaporation, freeze drying, canning and pasteurising. FoodPILOT hosts the largest collection of pilot-scale food processing equipment in the southern hemisphere.


    Nutrition Laboratory

    The Nutrition Laboratory specialises in analysis of food, plant and animal products. Their facilities enable nutritional testing of food products including for shelf life, food safety, product formulation and labelling.

    Nutrition Laboratory

    Departments and staff

    Find out more about the departments and staff involved in animal nutrition research at Massey.

    Animal expertise

    Massey University scientists also have expertise across some key animal types. Find out more about study options, research, facilities, services or resources to do with these animals.