Improving protein efficiency of laying hens and broilers from nutritional and breeding perspectives

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


The demand for human edible protein sources will increase due to an increase in world population and wealth. This will result in an increased competition between humans and animals for high-quality protein sources. Therefore, increasing protein efficiency of livestock is an important challenge in livestock production. To improve protein efficiency of livestock, the animal prodution sector may: (1) efficiently use alternative protein sources or protein sources with a higher percentage human inedible proteins; and/or (2) use unimals that are more efficient with protein sources. The aim of the study was to investigate different future directions to improve protein efficiency of livestock. A desk study was performed but results were also obtained by workshops with stakeholders and pilot studies with available data of breeder organisations. Protein efficiency was defined as ‘the amount of protein input to produce one kg of protein output’. To take into account competition for protein sources between humans and animals, protein output is corrected for whether protein is also directly suitable as human edible protein. To improve protein efficiency, it is important to consider both the animal output (for instance producing more eggs) and the protein input (use of human inedible protein sources). The most promising solutions are: (1) alternative protein sources; (2) precision feeding, taking into account genotype × nutrition interaction and nutrigenomics; and (3) selective breeding. A challenge will be the limited availability of datasets with phenotypic observations for protein efficiency. Close collaboration between nutritionists and geneticists is recommended in order to define a phenotype that can be used for protein efficiency and to optimise selection procedures for protein efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 21st European Symposium on Poultry Nutrition
Subtitle of host publicationESPN 2017
EditorsM. Francesch, D. Torrallardona, J. Brufau
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868513
ISBN (Print)9789086863068
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2017
Event21st European Symposium on Poultry Nutrition: ESPN 2017 - Salou/Vila seca, Spain
Duration: 8 May 201711 May 2017
Conference number: 21


Conference21st European Symposium on Poultry Nutrition
CitySalou/Vila seca


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