Animal Origin Production Systems

Foods of Animal Origin Production Systems

Within the agri-food industry the prevalence of inferior quality food produce derived from animals is an issue of significant economic importance. Animals are exposed to many nutritional, environmental, physiological, physical and psychological effectors which have an impact on final product quality. Changes to these parameters lead to imbalances in normal physiological and metabolic homeostasis whichs impacts negatively on animal welfare and introduces variability in resulting food traits and quality. Modern breeding practices have focused primarily on the development of animals which are fast growing and efficient feed converters with high lean meat content, but by doing so have led to animals which are more susceptible to diseases and stress.

Proteomic and metabolomic methodologies are increasingly used by nutrition, health and food scientists focussed on food producing animals. Whilst much attention has previously centered on genomic activities, “post-genomic” techniques such as proteomics/metabolomics can more accurately monitor the effectiveness of introduced modifications - genetic, nutritional, management, etc. - on responses at the level of animal phenotype. Identifying changes to levels of specific parameters - e.g. biochemical, nutritional, stress or immune - may be used as a targeted proteomic/metabolomic approach to monitor effectiveness of changes to animal management, nutritional or environmental conditions. Additionally untargeted approaches may be applied to identify unknown parameters to distinguish between different animal management practices or the foods arising from these practices that may be used as positive attributes to help differentiate between systems or products.