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Nutritional Modelling

Image by Stijn te Strake

Coordinator : Prof. Alberto Stanislao Atzori, Prof. Antonio Gallo

Members : Marco Battelli, Antonello Cannas, Valentina Caparulo, Damiano Cavallini, Pierpaolo Danieli, Anna De Angelis, Giulia Ferronato, Giulia Foggi, Andrea Formigoni, Diana Luise, Ludovica Eugenia Mammi, Francesco Masoero, Matteo Ottoboni, Luca Rapetti, Francesco Serrapica, Alessandro Vastolo.


The objectives are to promote at a national level:

  1. the study and characterization of the state of the art of existing nutritional models, developed with both cognitive and exploratory purposes, i.e. as research models, and with application purposes, such as those used for rationing the main species of livestock;

  2. data collection and database development, to be used in the evaluation of existing nutritional models and in the development of new models for rationing, also for the specific breeding needs of the national scenario;

  3. the development of descriptive and predictive models, both empirical and mechanistic, for the understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in digestive processes, also for educational purposes.

  4. the discussion of new meta-analytical and modelling approaches for estimating the nutritional value of foods and nutritional needs applied to food rationing of the main species of livestock;

  5. the development of a national and international network with which to discuss and explore the above issues;

  6. the organization of basic and applied modelling seminars and courses for the dissemination of knowledge on applied modelling in national research groups and in particular in the scientific disciplinary sector of animal nutrition and nutrition.

State of the art and reasons justifying the activation of the Study Commission:


The numerous feeding systems proposed at an international level, among the best known those of French, American, Scandinavian, German, Australian origin) are constantly being updated and improved, also with respect to the biological knowledge obtained from scientific research on animal nutrition in the various species. It is therefore considered necessary to delve deeper, within the national scientific community, into the principles that link the basic methodological paradigms of modelling to the biological mechanisms of animal nutrition, as well as to the scientific and technical implications deriving from the adoption of international systems for estimating needs in the national livestck scenario,  food evaluation and food rationing supported by software and IT tools. Furthermore, the development of nutritional models of greater interest for national livestock farming is considered a priority, such as the prediction of the qualitative characteristics of milk and meat.


Activities of the Study Commission:


  1. The need to dedicate part of the working group's effort to describing the needs of the national technical and scientific community on nutritional modelling in terms of i) species on which the modelling is applied and at what level of detail, ii) type of modelling applied, iii ) any technical applications with software available at a technical level, free or paid.

  2. move towards the promotion (and development) of nutritional models to be used for educational purposes at a national level and open access for students.

  3. create monothematic meetings or training days in person (ruminants, monogastrics, etc., species, cattle, sheep, buffaloes, pigs, etc.)

  4. create a list of people in Italy who deal with these aspects and involve them in the above initiatives.


Deliverables of the Study Commission:


  1. Conference to start the Commission's work to be held on the occasion of the Cremona fair on 1 December 2023.

  2. Dossier of informative articles on the sustainability of production in the dairy cattle sector (Zootechnical informant, November issue, Cremona fair).

  3. Webinar Presentation: ASPA Animal Science Thursdays scheduled for Spring 2024.

  4. Organizing a session of the EAAP 2024 meeting on nutritional modelling.

  5. State of the art of nutritional models used in rationing in Italy and for teaching: A shared folder of bibliographic material divided by animal species has been created. With the future objective of carrying out a Review "future directions on animal nutritional modelling". Work is being carried out to collect views and opinions on the technical and application needs of the use of nutritional models in Italy for the various species of ruminants and monogastrics.

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