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Sustainable pig and poultry nutrition by improvement of nutrient utilisation – A review

Nachhaltige Schweine- und Geflügelernährung durch Steigerung der Nährstoffnutzungseffizienz – Eine Übersicht

Karl Schedle


In the context of mismanagement of natural resources going with an increasing consumption of protein from animal origin through the world population, one major challenge for the future in animal nutrition is the improvement of its efficiency and hence sustainability. Up to now, a broad range of methods like feed additives or technological treatments have been available to improve the efficiency or the production of pig-derived and poultry-derived food and hence the sustainability in pig and poultry nutrition. Nevertheless, the exact knowledge of the mode of action of these tools is a prerequisite for their successful application. Furthermore, information concerning their impact on the nutrient availability of the different feedstuffs is of great importance, in order to formulate diets that cover the animals’ requirements. Diets covering the animals’ performance level ovoid undersupplies, which can lead to health problems on the on hand, on the other hand the emissions of nitrogen are kept as low as possible.

As a result, the consumption of natural resources like grains can be considerably reduced and the substitution of regional by-products from the feed and food processing industry like wheat bran, dried distillers grains with solubles or rapeseed meal can be dramatically enhanced in diets for monogastric animals, thus contributing to more sustainable livestock production. By improving the efficiency of the production of animal-derived food, the term “sustainable’’ remains highly significant. Increasing efficiency plays an important role in ensuring that the resources required for pig and poultry nutrition are foreseeably available. Currently, there is a combination of different tools like feed additives or technological feed treatments the most promising way of improving sustainability in pig and poultry production systems.

Open access

Karl Schedle, Elke Humer, Rudolf Leitgeb, Gertrude Freudenberger, Katharina Monika Ebner and Christiane Schwarz


The objective of the current study was to determine the applicability of wheat-corn-distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) as protein source with and without non-starch polysaccharides (NSP)-hydrolyzing enzymes in diets of broiler chicks. In addition to the performance and carcass characteristics, the effect on energy parameters (energy intake per day, energy per kilogram feed), digestibility, as well as sensory aspects and fatty acid profile of breast meat were determined. In a 3×2-factorial approach, a total of 360 broiler chickens (Ross 308) were allocated to six treatment groups (8%, 16%, and 24% DDGS, with or without NSP-hydrolyzing enzymes). The zootechnical performance was not influenced by increasing DDGS concentrations over the whole fattening period, whereas supplementation of the NSP-hydrolyzing enzyme improved feed conversion ratio in the grower phase and increased average daily gain (ADG) in the finisher phase (p < 0.05). Energy and dry matter (DM) digestibility as well as apparent N retention did not differ between treatments. The substitution of soybean meal and corn with DDGS and vegetable oil showed a trend of increased tenderness of broiler breast meat. Nevertheless, the intramuscular amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids increased with increasing inclusion rate of DDGS and vegetable oil (p < 0.01).