Nutrition and Metabolism: Foundations for Animal Growth, Development, Reproduction, and Health.
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Consumption of high-quality animal protein plays an important role in improving human nutrition, growth, development, and health. With an exponential growth of the global population, demands for animal-sourced protein are expected to increase by 60% between 2021 and 2050. In addition to the production of food protein and fiber (wool), animals are useful models for biomedical research to prevent and treat human diseases and serve as bioreactors to produce therapeutic proteins. For a high efficiency to transform low-quality feedstuffs and forages into high-quality protein and highly bioavailable essential minerals in diets of humans, farm animals have dietary requirements for energy, amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and water in their life cycles. All nutrients interact with each other to influence the growth, development, and health of mammals, birds, fish, and crustaceans, and adequate nutrition is crucial for preventing and treating their metabolic disorders (including metabolic diseases) and infectious diseases. At the organ level, the small intestine is not only the terminal site for nutrient digestion and absorption, but also intimately interacts with a diverse community of intestinal antigens and bacteria to influence gut and whole-body health. Understanding the species and metabolism of intestinal microbes, as well as their interactions with the intestinal immune systems and the host intestinal epithelium can help to mitigate antimicrobial resistance and develop prebiotic and probiotic alternatives to in-feed antibiotics in animal production. As abundant sources of amino acids, bioactive peptides, energy, and highly bioavailable minerals and vitamins, animal by-product feedstuffs are effective for improving the growth, development, health, feed efficiency, and survival of livestock and poultry, as well as companion and aquatic animals. The new knowledge covered in this and related volumes of Adv Exp Med Biol is essential to ensure sufficient provision of animal protein for humans, while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimize the urinary and fecal excretion of nitrogenous and other wastes to the environment, and sustain animal agriculture (including aquaculture).
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Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition and Metabolism