Working Group 1 Feed and Food for Health will integrate and collate basic knowledge on (a) the roles of feed and feed components in animal health, and (b) the role of animal nutrition in designing functional foods. The study of the bioactivity and functionality with regard to feed components is only at the beginning. Little is known about the potential benefits of either mixtures of nutrients or specific substances on animal health, and although many are reported to have positive effects (such as controlling enteric infections) many claims have not be substantiated scientifically. Furthermore little information is available on how it may be possible to increase the bioactive-nutrient content of animal products by animal nutrition so as to produce new functional foods. An attractive way of enhancing levels of health-promoting constituents of animal products is by direct interventions at the level of the nutrition of the animals themselves. Such interventions are expected not only enhance nutrient bioavailability in food products for humans, but also to improve public perception of foods of animal origin, since many nutrient (e.g. vitamins) can also safeguard animal health. Thus it is important to develop protocols and models (in vitro and animal) to quantify the bio-accessibility and bioavailability of bioactive components. Another area pertinent to feed and health is the ban of growth-promoting antibiotics. It is important to identify and develop alternatives to these substances. Although, projects are already addressing this issue, and a initial attempt at networking research groups in the area of plant-derived feed additives was made in FEED-SEG, the creation of a network that includes groups that are studying other feed additives will be very useful.
Working Group 1 Feed and Food for Health objectives:
1. Carry out a systematic literature review of bioactive and functional components of feeds.
2. Identify sustainable nutritional strategies for producing functional and nutritious foods of animal origin that can have health benefits for humans.
3. Evaluate existing knowledge on alternatives to growth-promoting antibiotics and propose future direction for research in this area.
4. Identify Action areas where collaboration between participating laboratories may generate added value.
5. Develop protocols and models to quantify the bio-accessibility and bioavailability of bioactive components that can be used in studies on animals and on humans.
6. Contribute to the global animal health platform.