Feed Bites

New Pet Food Research – Only at the AFIA Pet Food Conference

Written by: Lacie Dotterweich   |   January 6, 2023


Are there links between soluble fiber and diet-related heart failure in beagles? What role does dried brewer’s yeast play in the gastrointestinal health and immune function of dogs? What is an accurate method to determine amino acid digestibility and protein quality of mealworm-based ingredients? These are just some of the questions attendees will hear addressed at the upcoming American Feed Industry Association Pet Food Conference (PFC), where researchers will present their studies for the pet food industry.

Three graduate students have been invited to share their work at PFC – preview their research below.

 Want to learn more? Early-bird registration for PFC ends TODAY!

Link Between Soluble Fiber and Diet-Related Heart Failure in Beagles – Elise Bokshowan, M.S., University of Saskatchewan 

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration reported a potential link between grain-free dog foods and a type of heart failure in dogs, called dilated cardiomyopathy, which was presenting in breeds that are not predisposed to heart failure. There have been many suggestions as to what this link could be, such as a type of soluble fiber called oligosaccharides that are found in peas. Bokshowan’s research looks at the theory that the pea fiber binds to the amino acid taurine and prevents its absorption from the diet. The lack of taurine is a possible mechanism to cause heart failure in dogs.

The Role of Dried Brewer’s Yeast In Gastrointestinal Health And Immune Function Of Dogs - Vanessa De La Guardia, Ph.D., University of Illinois 

Yeast products may increase the abundance or activity of beneficial fecal bacteria and reduce gastrointestinal permeability. De La Guardia’s research focuses on the effects of dried brewer’s yeast products on gastrointestinal health and immunity of dogs and will address the potential role that this important co-product of the brewing industry has on canine intestinal health and immune function.

Amino Acid Digestibility and Protein Quality of Mealworm-based Ingredients Using The Precision-fed Cecectomized Rooster Assay - Meredith Smola, Ph.D., University of Illinois 

Given the results of recent studies in broiler chickens, growing pigs, and aquaculture, mealworm-based ingredients may serve as high-quality protein sources. Yellow mealworms and lesser mealworms may serve as alternative protein sources for pet foods because they are protein-rich and have low ecological footprints. Smola’s research focuses on the amino acid composition, amino acid digestibility and protein quality of mealworm-based ingredients. She will provide an overview of these ingredients and their potential uses as a protein source in pet foods.

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