17th BOKU Symposium Animal Nutrition

"Carbohydrates in animal nutrition"

Although carbohydrates are discussed controversively in human nutrition (see "low-carb diets"), almost all farm animals use carbohydrates as the main source of energy.

Carbohydrates are a diverse group of chemical substances mainly of plant origin. Digested carbohydrates provide the necessary energy for animal maintenance and performance. In contrast, a large proportion of carbohydrates in feeds are not digested by enzymes of the animal, but are degraded by microorganisms colonising the forestomachs of ruminants and the hindgut.

Such structural carbohydrates are represented by non-starch polysaccharides, some oligosaccharides or resistant starch. All of them result in fermentation products like short chain fatty acids, which can be used as energy sources in the intermediary metabolism.

However, there is still a gap of knowledge when the discussion goes for the definition of fibre. Their composition is variable, as well as physico-chemical properties which vary among sources, either using in vitro or in vivo methods. Physico-chemical properties of fibre like water holding capacity, swelling properties and buffering capacity may influence the nutrient and energy availability during digesta transit in the gut. Also the interaction with other nutrients in the digestion process is only being marginally focused in research.

In the 17th BOKU Symposium Animal Nutrion several aspects related to the carbohydrates in animal production are discussed. The manuscripts submitted to the symposium should inform about current scientific work, possible application in practical animal nutrition and invite to discuss the issues in a large audience.

Besides the general topic of this year´s symposium, contributions are invited to report on current research work in all areas of animal nutrition.