Department of Animal Sciences

FPQLivestock and the food they provide are central to the research of the department of Animal Sciences. There is a strong focus on two food chain related issues: 1) mitigation of the environmental impacts of food production animals and 2) the long-term effects of animal-derived foods on the health of humans. The department comprises some 30 academic and technical staff covering a wide range of disciplines from the management of health, welfare, and nutrition of animals to reduce their environmental impacts through to the composition of the final product which the consumer purchases and its impacts on human health. This food chain approach includes a close working relationship between the Department of Animal Sciences and the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH) and Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences.

The knowledge and expertise of this group inform teaching on a range of degree programmes at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels, in particular the Animal Science BSc (Hons). Students benefit from visits and practical work at the extensive research facilities underpinning Animal Sciences research. Research facilities include off-campus animal research units for all key food producing animals (dairy cows, beef, poultry, pigs), including four large animal calorimeters and a commercial 575 cow dairy herd at the Centre for Dairy Research (CEDAR). In addition, laboratory facilities are maintained on the main campus in the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development. Research funding comes from a wide range of bodies including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the European Commission, UK levy bodies, and multi-national companies.

Current key research areas include:

Environmental nutrition

  • Assessment of the performance, environmental benefits, and nutritional value of multi-species 'herbal' swards
  • Nutritional strategies and dietary supplements for reduced methane production by dairy cows
  • Improving dietary protein use efficiency to reduce excretion of nitrogenous compounds by dairy cows
  • Strategic use of polyphenolic compounds in forage legumes in relation to reduce environmental impacts of ruminants
  • Improving phosphorus management on dairy farms to reduce losses to the environment
  • Strategies to reduce the development of antimicrobial resistance in farm animals

Food and health

  • Reducing saturated fatty acids in dairy products
  • Effect of milk proteins on vascular health
  • Long term consumption of dairy products and risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Optimizing concentrations of iodine and other micronutrients in milk and meat

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Professor Chris Reynolds

HR Excellence in Research

The University holds the European Commission's HR Excellence in Research Award. Follow the link below for more information


HR Excellence in Research

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