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Current and future potential of alternative techniques

  • D. I. Givens (a1) and M. Gill (a2)

Abstract

Ruminant animal production faces numerous challenges and it seems that both economic and biological benefits will be derived from moving food characterization from simple energy and protein-based approaches to those which assess nutrient supply in some detail. In vitro systems will need to reflect this change and this paper considers in particular, the need for estimations of rumen volatile fatty acids and microbial protein supplies. Emphasis is placed on the possibility that in vitro techniques can be used to provide biochemical data which can themselves be used in mathematical models of wider processes. This paper also examines the need for in vitro techniques to reflect the microbial!animal response to the physical structure of foods and also the requirement for in vitro approaches which ask why a food has a certain value rather than simply what the value is. In vitro techniques also have a substantial role outside the digestive tract in predicting factors such as voluntary food intake and some aspects of tissue metabolism and some of these aspects are considered. Tor practical application in vitro techniques will need to provide value for money and be compatible as parameters in mathematical models to have an impact at farm level. In this regard physical in vitro techniques such as NIRS seem to have enormous potential.

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Current and future potential of alternative techniques

  • D. I. Givens (a1) and M. Gill (a2)

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