Animal nutrition research
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.
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 function.industries.
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.
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.
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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Alginate increases water stability whilst maintaining diet digestibility in farmed saltwater crocodiles
Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) farming in Papua New Guinea is an emerging industry. Crocodiles are fed high quality feed made from extruded animal by-products, however it disintegrates on contact with water, and this leads to low utilisation.
Our study showed that alginate addition to crocodile feed improved its stability in water and did not impair nutrient digestion. Application of these findings should greatly decrease feed wastage, which ultimately will increase economic returns and decrease environmental impacts.
Amino Acid Oxidation Increases with Dietary Protein Content in Adult Neutered Male Cats
Cats are unique among domestic animals in that they are obligate carnivores and have a high protein requirement. However, there are few data on protein turnover and amino acid (AA) metabolism in cats.
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of dietary protein content on urea production and Leu metabolism in cats. The project found that the high protein requirement of cats combined with a low rate of whole-body protein synthesis ensures that an obligate demand of AAs for energy or glucose (or both) can be met in an animal that evolved with a diet high in protein with very little or no carbohydrate.
Foraging range of fur seals
This project investigated the foraging range of New Zealand fur seals at three breeding colonies in the South Island. We equipped females with satellite data loggers, investigated their feeding habits through the use of fatty acids and stable isotopes and assessed the spatial overlap between fur seals and fisheries using GIS tools.
Growing healthy heifers
This ongoing research is investigating the most efficient and effective way of raising dairy heifers to meet live weight targets. The aim of this research is to determine the effect of high and low milk treatment and a post- weaning diet of ryegrass or herb pastures on the growth rate of dairy heifers. The study is also collecting data on colostrum quality and parasites in calves.
Growing perennial crops for dairying
No. 1 Dairy farm has 20 hectares of perennial crops. The aim of the crop research as part of Project Dairy 1 is to develop a better understanding of seasonal dry matter production of lucerne and a chicory, plantain and clover sward mix. The research will contribute to a better understanding of the production of perennial pastures on alluvial soils. Farmers will be able to use the results to inform decision making around using alternative pastures to grass, including factors such as reseeding potential, drought resilience and feed quality.
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.
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.
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.