Modelling

Modelling has now become an established tool, with potential applications in amino acid nutrition of animals (Chapters 11 and 16). Models based on biochemical pathways should enable a more dynamic approach to the estimation of amino acid requirements.

  • Models should continue to be developed and used to identify gaps in current knowledge relating to the diverse features of amino acid utilization by animals.
  • As ever, the development of good models will depend on the generation of fundamental data in the areas outlined in this chapter. Models will need to address not only the nutritional roles of amino acids but also their functions as immune and regulatory modulators - no easy task.
  • As regards ruminant nutrition, recent models have accommodated many of the quantitative features of ruminal fermentation, but as yet accurate prediction of productivity has been an elusive entity. The diversity of the microbial ecosystem in the metabolism of amino acids and factors affecting the catabolic flux are just two areas in need of attention (Chapter 15).
  • Amino acid transport processes and metabolism in the mammary gland are highly complex, with many aspects still awaiting elucidation. As new data are generated, greater emphasis will be placed on mathematical modelling to integrate features of metabolism and regulation in this organ for the prediction of milk production in lactating animals (Chapter 19).
  • The predictive efficacy of existing models such as the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System will be enhanced as further research is conducted on modelling of intestinal absorption and identification of limiting amino acids; information is also required on requirements for the branched-chain amino acids (Chapter 21).
  • Quantitative information concerning the amino acid requirements for key physiological processes in adult cats and dogs should become available in the future. Such developments will enable the construction of flexible factorial models for these species along lines similar to those for farm animals (Chapter 22). The unique role of taurine and production of felinine needs to be addressed in assessing requirements for cats.

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