College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Animal & Avian Sciences

Nutrient Utilization & Metabolism

Faculty in our Nutrient Utilization and Metabolism Group study the uptake, transport and fate of nutrients in animals, the nutritional requirements of animals, and procedures for minimizing nutrient loss to the environment.

General Goal

  • Establish the basic mechanisms that limit feed digestion and utilization by dairy and beef cattle, poultry, horses, and exotic animals.
  • Identify nutritional strategies that improve meat and milk quality, and animal health.
  • Delineate the molecular and metabolic processes that govern the partition of dietary nutrients towards tissue, milk and egg synthesis.
  • Develop and implement feeding guidelines and management practices that reduce animal waste pollution in the environment and improve animal productivity.
  • Study animal digestion as a model to understand biomass conversion to biofuels or bioproducts.


The Nutrient Utilization and Metabolism faculty possess expertise in both basic and applied research approaches to systemically address important nutritional issues facing animal agriculture at the local, state and national levels. Key issues being addressed by this group include the following:

  • Optimization of dietary energy, nitrogen and phosphorus use by ruminants and poultry to decrease impacts on the environment.
  • Improve survival and growth of chicken embryos and post-hatch chicks.
  • Develop mathematical models of whole-animal nutrient utilization for research investigation and to improve predictions of animal performance.
  • Nutrient-gene interactions that affect milk composition.
  • Reduce methane emissions by ruminants.
  • Utilization of traditional and novel forages by horses and beef cattle.
  • Establish best feeding practices for insectivorous birds.

Research Impacts

  • Producers and consumers of dairy and poultry products.
  • Horse owners and farm operators.
  • Companion and zoological animal nutrition and health.
  • Efficiency of use of feed resources.
  • Human nutrition and health.
  • Chesapeake Bay preservation.
  • Environmental footprint of animal agriculture.
Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2020. Web Accessibility