The research program in non-ruminant nutrition includes both applied and basic research in poultry and swine species. Research projects directed by faculty members offer a wide range of opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate employment opportunities include feeding and routine daily animal care, data collection of feeds and animals, sample preparation, lab analysis, carcass data collection, and internships. Recent and ongoing research projects include:
- Nutrient utilization of distiller's grains evaluates efficiency
- The effects of growth modifiers on the performance of pigs are evaluated
- Identification of vitamin and mineral requirements of nursery and growing-finishing pigs
- The effects of protein and amino acids on growth, carcass compositions, and organ weights are studied
- The effects of prebiotics and probiotics and gastrointestinal health
- The effects of dam parity on progeny health and growth performance
- Laying hen nutrition requirements are evaluated
- Work is being done on quality of egg production and efficiency
- Current animal welfare of laying hens in cages is being researched
- The relationship between cage density and number of hens per cage compared to energy needs and metabolism combines behavior, nutrition, and welfare issues
- Research in problem solving works to improve productivity in the poultry industry
- The UNL Animal Science department developed Omega Eggs to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
Omega eggs are a type of "designer egg," in which the yolk's fatty acid profile has been modified by altering the hens' diet. The University of Nebraska holds the patent to a diet and management program used in creating these eggs. In the human diet, one Omega egg serving would be equivalent to a one ounce serving of high oil fish (salmon) to provide essential n-3 fatty acids. Omega Eggs are sold at Hy-Vee stores in the regular Egg case or the Health Market refrigerated case.
For further information on the health benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids, check out "The Omega Plan" book by Dr. Artemis P. Simopoulos available at local bookstores and the University of Nebraska NebFact #NF97-354 titled "Omega Eggs -- A Dietary Source of n-3 Fatty Acids" by Dr. Sheila E. Purdum and Dr. Nancy M. Lewis which is available by contacting Dr. Sheila E. Purdum at the Department of Animal Science, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0908.
Gut Function Initiative
In collaboration with the faculty members in the Departments of Food Science and Technology, Nutrition and Health Sciences, Biological Sciences, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, and Statistics, the Gut Function Initiative was recently founded as a dynamic, interdisciplinary group of scientists studying the relationships of the gut microbiota to the health and performance of the host. Major projects are already underway to study the effects of (i) bioactive food compounds and probiotics/prebiotics on gut microbiota, (ii) host genetic control of gut microbiota development, and (iii) the impact of gut bacteria on caloric utilization and animal performance. The Gut Function Initiative is directed toward filling substantial knowledge gaps and to provide substrates for marketable probiotics and bioactives for animal and human health and performance.
The non-ruminant nutrition program includes teaching, research, and extension activities covering both poultry and swine. Specific areas of expertise include extension programs in poultry management and nutrition, and swine management and nutrition. The teaching program consists of Advanced Animal Nutrition, Poultry Nutrition, Mineral Nutrition, Swine Management, and Animal Nutrition and Feeding. Our research program includes the Omega Egg, non-fasting molt studies in layers for poultry and Protein and amino acid nutrition, nutritional evaluation of corn by-products, and vitamin supplementation for nursery pigs for the swine. If you have further questions about either Poultry or Swine please click on the links below for the faculty.