When it comes to animal feed it is important to know the nutritional values of the product. For proper growth animals need the right amount of macro nutrients like carbohydrates, fat and protein. But also the micronutrients like minerals and vitamins are important. For food it is required to know the nutritional values of the products because of labels that need to be placed on the packaging of the product due to legislation in many countries. MasterLab is proficient in analyzing these components using various techniques. Furthermore we have experience performing stability tests for different additives.
The building blocks for proteins are amino acids. For animal growth it is important to have enough of the essential amino acids in an animal feed. Generally these amino acids are available from a protein source like soy flour or fish meal. However sometimes certain amino acids are not abundant enough in the protein source. In this case the amino acids can be added by a premix. Knowing the amino acid composition of a feed is thus important as it gives information on which premix and in which quantities it needs to be added.
Carbohydrates are all components in food and feed that are or build from monosaccharides like for example glucose. The carbohydrates can be divided into fibers (e.g. dietary fiber), starch, oligosaccharides and sugar. Dietary fibers are all polysaccharides that are resistant to digestion in the human small intestine, because of this no energy can be extracted by humans from these polysaccharides. However bacteria do benefit from fiber and some forms of dietary fiber are used as prebiotics to promote a healthy gut flora. Starch is a polymer of glucose and gets digested in the small intestine by enzymes called amylases. This enzyme turns the polymer into smaller oligosaccharides and also glucose which is used in the body for energy. Some products already contain a large amount of sugars like glucose or are sweetened with extra sugars. To know the energy value of a product it is thus important to know how many sugars as well as carbohydrates are present.
Fat molecules are generally esters of fatty acids and glycerol, these are the so called triglycerides. The composition of these fatty acids can be diverse between products. Unsaturated fatty acids like the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are known to have positive effects on health.
Furthermore the quality of the fat is also important. Fat readily oxidizes when exposed to heat. The rancidity of the fat, the amount of peroxide, free fatty acids and polymerization that has occurred gives information about the quality of the fat.
Minerals are micro nutrients which are required for a lot of processes in humans and animals. It is important to know the mineral composition of the animal feed, in case it is too low additions of minerals like calcium, phosphorous, iron and selenium can be made by using premixes. For humans it is important to know how much sodium chloride (salt) is in a food product.
Proteins are required by the body for the construction of tissues and for the construction of proteins and enzymes required for proper functioning of the body of humans and animals. Proteins are built from amino acids and knowing the amino acid profile can reveal if extra essential amino acids need to be added to the animal feed.
Vitamins are micro nutrients which the human body cannot sufficiently produce by itself and must come from the diet. Some vitamins perform an important role in physiological processes while others serve primarily as an anti-oxidant. Knowing if enough vitamins are present in the animal feed or vitamin supplements is important. In case a certain vitamin is not abundant enough, extra vitamins could be added by using premixes.