Like humans, pigs can use only part of the nutrients that are provided by the feed. Nutrients that are digested, can be taken up by the body and used for body tissue (e.g. muscle) or as energy source. The efficiency with which nutrients are used in the body depends on the extent and rate of digestion. The digestion of nutrients depends on feed- and animal characteristics, for example the speed with which feed transits through the gastrointestinal tract. To better understand the complexity of the digestive processes, I developed a computer model for which first the speed of digestion processes in pigs was studied. In the computer model, feed and animal characteristics were combined to predict the uptake of nutrients, such as glucose, by the animal. In the future, the model can be used to better tailor the diet of a pig to meet its nutritional requirements.
External financer: This research was funded within the ‘Feed4Foodure’ framework of the public–private partnership between Wageningen University & Research, ‘Vereniging Diervoederonderzoek Nederland’ (VDN) and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (BO-31.03-005-001).