Breeding for improved protein efficiency
In order to feed the world in the (near) future, there is the challenge to produce more animal proteins from human non-edible proteins. Within the theme on Resource Efficiency of B4F, we have investigated the opportunities to breed for protein efficiency. This will be presented by Esther Ellen at the EAAP in Belfast on August 29, 2016 during a one-day symposium organised jointly with ECO-FCE (an FP7 EU project).
Livestock convert crops and crop products into high quality human edible proteins. However, some protein sources used in feed for livestock could also be used directly for human consumption. Due to the increase in world population and increase in wealth, it is expected that the demand for human edible protein sources (from animal as well as plant origin) will increase. This will result in competition between humans and animals for high-quality protein sources. Therefore, increasing protein efficiency of livestock is an important challenge in livestock production.
To improve protein efficiency of livestock, the animal production sector may
1) use animals that are more efficient with protein sources, and/or
2) efficiently use alternative protein sources or protein sources with a higher percentage human inedible.
The aim of this study was to investigate different future directions to improve protein efficiency of livestock. The most promising solutions are
1) alternative protein sources,
2) precision feeding, taking into account genotype x nutrition interaction and nutrigenomics, and
3) selective breeding.
A challenge will be the limited availability of datasets with phenotypic observations for protein efficiency. Close collaboration between geneticists and nutritionists is recommended in order to define a phenotype that can be used for protein efficiency and to optimise selection procedures for protein efficiency.
Want to know more about the program? EAAP 2016