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Animal Nutrition and Feeding Unit

Description of Research Activity 

The research of Scientific Sector AGR 18 is  focused on: farm animals (especially poultry and rabbits), companion animals (horses, dogs, cats…), wild birds and wild lagomorphs. Research activity concerns the following thematic areas: 

  • Research on poultry: the research in poultry is focused on welfare and nutrition of broiler chicken and intermediate- and slow- growing chicken egg and meat type. The research on poultry nutrition aim to investigate the relationship between feed and meat quality and safety.  The effect of mycotoxins contamination of feed on broiler chicken performance, welfare, and meat safety are studied. The effect of nutraceuticals feed (i.e. natural antioxidants, fatty acids, vegetable extracts) on broiler chicken welfare, performance and meat quality are investigated. The research in poultry nutrition also aims to investigate the effect of feed additive on digestibility and the use of innovative protein source (both of vegetable and animal origin). Recently the research group is studying the effect of genotype and rearing system on welfare and meat quality of intermediate- and slow-growing egg and meat type chickens.
  • Research on rabbits. The nutritional  tests are aimed at improving the nutritional quality of rabbit meat for human consumption. The topics of greatest interest in this area relate to the use of vegetables rich in antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet of animals. On the meat of animals are made studies on the modulation of the profile of polyunsaturated fatty acids ; are also examined the nutritional and organoleptic characteristics of the rabbit meat.
  • Research on wild birds and wild lagomorphs. In the context of projects aimed at the conservation and management of wildlife, studies have been performed regarding food preferences  and  diet composition of species of  wild birds and lagomorphs. The study of animal behavior, the management, and the morphological surveys also characterize the research on these species.
  • Research on  horses. Studies related to the equine species involved the research of nutritional strategies (use of antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids) to improve the activity of the equine athlete. Also are made digestibility studies "in vivo" of diets for horses, using the direct methods (Ingesta / Egesta) and indirect methods with indicators.
  • Research on  dogs and cats. With regard to companion animals has been made studies on the needs energy, water, minerals and vitamins of the dogs, either in conditions of maintenance that in athletes. was also developed a method for calculating the energy needs of dogs athletes that takes into account the following variables: 1) individual variables,  behavioral variables of dogs (age, weight, breed, temperament), 2) environmental variables (climate, conditions of soil of race), 3) variables related to the type of competition (gait and duration sporting performance).


Staff of the Unit

Domenico BERGERO Full Professor domenico.bergero@unito.it
Giorgia MEINERI Associate Professor giorgia.meineri@unito.it
Achille SCHIAVONE Associate Professor achille.schiavone@unito.it
Joana NERY Assistant Professor joana.nery@unito.it
Emanuela VALLE Assistant Professor emanuela.valle@unito.it
Chiara BIANCHI Technician chiara.bianchi@unito.it
Sandra MAIONE Technician sandra.maione@unito.it
Lidia STERPONE Technician part time lidia.sterpone@unito.it



Last update: 29/07/2015 16:23
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