Plant Secondary Compounds in Livestock Systems to Produce Functional Foods symposium set July 11 in Austin  

Writer: Susan Himes, 325-657-7315, Susan.Himes@ag.tamu.edu 

Contacts: Dr. Travis Whitney, 325-657-7339, trwhitney@ag.tamu.edu

Dr. Dan Quadros, 325-657-7339, Dan.Quadros@ag.tamu.edu

Dr. Dan Quadros looks forward to sharing his  research results with fellow scientists at the Plant Secondary Compounds in Livestock Systems to Produce Functional Foods symposium.

AUSTIN — Texas A&M AgriLife Research is presenting a symposium, “Plant Secondary Compounds in Livestock Systems to Produce Functional Foods” on July 11 during the American Society of Animal Science – Canadian Society of Animal Science meeting. 

The symposium will run from 9 a.m.-noon in Room 9C of the Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin.

Drs. Travis Whitney and Dan Quadros, AgriLife Research livestock nutritionists, San Angelo, developed the symposium after recognizing a need for fellow scientists studying plant secondary compounds, PSC, to organize in order to share their findings with each other. 

“The idea was to synergize fragmented research programs and industry efforts regarding PSCs on livestock production systems and their relations with functional food development,” said Whitney. 

Functional foods are foods that have additional health benefits beyond basic nutrition. The secondary metabolism of a plant produces a large number of specialized compounds that, even though not directly related to the plant’s growth and development, help the plant to survive in its environment. Condensed tannins, saponins, essential oils, organosulfur compounds and flavonoids are examples of PSC with great potential to be integrated into livestock production systems, said Whitney.

Utilizing plants that contain secondary compounds in livestock diets has numerous health benefits such as reducing internal parasites, enhancing rumen microbial efficiency, and enhancing the quality of milk and meat products. 

“Scientists are extremely interested in studying the effects of PSC on the nutraceutical and functional properties of milk and meat and how these products could benefit human health when consumed on a regular basis,” Quadros said.

The symposium will cover the role of PSC inclusion in diets on livestock production efficiency, ruminant energy, metabolism, milk and dairy product production, beef cattle feedlot performance, meat quality and functional food research on human nutrition.

Whitney said their goal is to create and develop an interdisciplinary and multi-institutional consortium to advance the understanding of how PSC can be incorporated into a healthy, sustainable livestock production system.

“At the symposium, we’ll unite an outstanding team of multi-disciplinary scientists to deliver cutting-edge summaries in order to synergize PSC knowledge, which will create a pathway forward to the development of the American Consortium for Plant Secondary Compounds in Livestock Production Systems,” said Whitney.

Quadros said he believes the consortium will be the cornerstone for the direction of future research, securing funding and unifying scientific groups and industry efforts across the globe.

“The consortium is a remarkable innovation because it converges different areas of PSC studies such as animal nutrition, rumen physiology, animal health and animal products quality,” said Quadros. 

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