NDSU studies selenium in livestock diets

US - The North Dakota State University Center for Nutrition and Pregnancy (CNP) is evaluating the effects of nutrition level and selenium supplementation on livestock during gestation.
calendar icon 10 November 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
Proper nutrition during gestation is critical to healthy offspring and lifelong productivity, researchers say.

Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health. It aids in preventing cellular damage that may contribute to cancers or heart disease development. It also can help regulate thyroid function and play a role in the immune system.

The center's four-year project, titled “Effects of Maternal Undernutrition and High Selenium During Gestation on Growth and Osculation of Key Nutrient Transferring Tissue,” is completing its second year of research. The center is affiliated with the NDSU Department of Animal and Range Sciences.

The long-term goal of this project is to understand the impacts of maternal nutrition on tissue growth and the animal's end-product quality, according to Joel Caton, a professor in the Animal and Range Sciences Department.

“Too much selenium causes toxicity, while too little results in malnutrition,” he says. “Existing data also suggests that selenium provided above requirements and below toxic levels may produce a production advantage for livestock producers and a more healthful product for human consumption.”

Livestock producers in the northern Plains region have seen cases of toxicity and malnutrition, so results will be useful in developing applicable selenium recommendations for livestock, he adds.

“It is very exciting working on these types of projects because the data has benefit and application in both livestock production and human biomedicine,” Caton says. “In some ways, it's like a two-for-one special.”

Interest in high-selenium foods for human consumption is growing, and collaborative research at NDSU is providing critical data in that area.

Scientists at the CNP are conducting research in the Animal Nutrition and Physiology Center (ANPC), which also is affiliated with the Department of Animal and Range Sciences.

Source: livestockroundup.net
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