The price and availability of protein sources for animal nutrition continues to be a topic of research and discussion. Animal feed producers are competing with human food producers for good quality protein sources.
The narrow margins over feed costs are forcing the animal nutritionists to look for alternative protein sources. The biggest concern with alternative protein sources are protein quality. Protein quality is determined by amino acid composition and amino acid digestibility. Poor ileal amino acid digestibility results in the presence of indigestible protein in the caeca and colon of broilers. In addition to the fact that these amino acids are not available for absorption and utilization by the bird it also becomes a substrate for proteolytic fermentation.
The metabolites of proteolytic fermentation can lead to metabolic disorders and subsequent damage to the gut microstructure. Broilers are particularly susceptible to these negative effects as modern broilers have great potential to convert feed into live weigh but their health in terms of metabolic disorders and altered immune functions is compromised in the process. The damage caused by these disorders cannot be repaired because of the short growth period. The focus of this project will be on indigestible protein and broiler performance, covering the different techniques to measure indigestible protein and the effect of dietary factors including the source and level of protein, feed processing, anti-nutritional factors, enzymes and other additives as well as the interactions between these factors.
Francois obtained both his BSc and MSc degrees in Animal Science at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He is currently working as a poultry nutritionist for DSM nutritional products and he is one of the PhD candidates working on the DSM research program aimed at a better understanding of the relationship between nutrition gut health.