Special Issue "Addressing Non-ruminant Nutrition and Digestive Ecology Functions for Sustainable Production and Welfare"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Farm Animal Production".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 5 April 2024 | Viewed by 795

Special Issue Editors

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
Interests: animal science and production; nutrition; food safety; mycotoxicology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Laboratory of Nutritional Physiology and Feeding, Department of Animal Science, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, 118 55 Athens, Greece
Interests: animal nutrition; gut ecology; nutrigenomics; homeostasis, detoxification and oxidative stress; product quality
Department of Bioveterinary and Microbial Sciences, Technological University of the Shannon, University Road, Co Westmeath, N37 HD68 Athlone, Ireland
Interests: fibre; prebiotics; minerals; feed; additives; protein; heat; inflammation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The cost of feed accounts for some 60–70% of the cost of animal production, especially for intensively farmed poultry and pigs. Every effort is therefore made to produce high-quality animal diets that are used efficiently to produce animal-sourced foods. With the increasing global demand for these products, the need for sustainable animal production to effectively address global food security issues due to the increasing human population and climate change is urgent. In this sense, animal feed needs to be less competitive with human food and be produced sustainably. To achieve this, animal production must actively embrace the concept of a circular economy and “produce more with less” by changing traditional dietary formulations and incorporating into animal diets new feedstuffs from agrifood waste valorization and biotechnology industries. In this new era, animal welfare and animal nutrition hold the keys for sustainable animal production.

Optimal animal nutrition can only be achieved through optimal digestion, absorption, and metabolism, all components of nutrient availability.  The measurement of digestibility is the most practical way of predicting the potential availability of a nutrient. Many digestibility data have been produced for major feedstuffs and these data reveal large differences in digestibility coefficients among different feedstuffs, but also within the same feedstuff group. What factors give rise to this variation? Does it reflect inherent differences within the feedstuff, the animal/bird ingesting it, or the gut microbiota? It is the nexus of these three aspects of digestibility, along with feed processing, feed additives, and the presence in feedstuffs of toxins and non-nutrients that determine digestibility coefficients? A greater understanding of the myriad of events that comprise digestion and absorption is important as we endeavor to improve animal nutrition. The incorporation of relevant histological and biochemical biomarkers in digestibility studies along with molecular techniques that monitor the animal’s metabolism or the gut microbiome will greatly assist this task.

We welcome original research or reviews that address these aspects of digestion and nutrition, and the utilization of novel feedstuffs in any of the domestic non-ruminants including pigs, poultry, rabbits, horses, dogs, and cats. Papers that explore the application of molecular techniques and those that critically assess newer feedstuffs such as nutrient-enhanced genetically modified plants, insect meals, microbial proteins, and products originating from agrifood waste streams following suitable bio-technological processing are also encouraged

Prof. Dr. Wayne L. Bryden
Prof. Dr. Konstantinos Mountzouris
Dr. Cormac O'Shea
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • monogastric
  • nutrients
  • digestion
  • availability
  • digestibility
  • gut microbiota
  • feed additives
  • novel feedstuffs
  • feed processing
  • feed security

Published Papers (1 paper)

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10 pages, 271 KiB  
Nutrient Digestibility of Soybean Meal Products Based on In Vitro Procedures for Pigs
Agriculture 2023, 13(8), 1631; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13081631 - 18 Aug 2023
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The present work aimed to assess the nutrient digestibility of soybean meal (SBM) products based on in vitro procedures. Two-step and three-step in vitro assays were performed to mimic the digestion and absorption of nutrients in the digestive tracts of growing swine. The [...] Read more.
The present work aimed to assess the nutrient digestibility of soybean meal (SBM) products based on in vitro procedures. Two-step and three-step in vitro assays were performed to mimic the digestion and absorption of nutrients in the digestive tracts of growing swine. The two-step in vitro method was modified to reflect the digesta retention time and digestive enzymes of nursery piglets by decreasing incubation periods and digestive enzymes to half of those in the procedure for growing pigs and was used to determine the crude protein (CP) digestibility of nursery piglets. The seven ingredients included conventional SBM, thermo-mechanically processed SBM (TSBM), and five sources of fermented SBM (FSBM). The five sources of FSBM were produced using different microorganisms for fermentation, namely: (1) Pediococcus pentosaceus and Bacillus subtilis, (2) Enterococcus faecium (FSBM-EF), (3) Aspergillus oryzae and Bacillus subtilis, (4) Aspergillus oryzae, and (5) Bacillus licheniformis. Based on the conventional procedure, the in vitro ileal disappearance of CP in TSBM was greater (p < 0.05) compared with that in FSBM sources. Based on the in vitro assays for total tract digestibility, organic matter in TSBM was better digested (p < 0.05) compared with that in FSBM except for FSBM-EF. Based on the in vitro procedure for nursery piglets, the ileal disappearance of CP in TSBM was greater (p < 0.05) than that in the other SBM products. Taken together, thermo-mechanical processing rather than microbial fermentation of SBM improves the nutrient digestibility of SBM, particularly in nursery pigs. Full article
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