The National Animal Nutrition Program – Delbert Gatlin

DELBERT GATLIN: Thank you. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to visit
with you today about an organization that hopefully is going to provide some assistance
to the zebrafish community. At least, I feel like there are some opportunities
for this group to access some of the information that is being made available by the National
Animal Nutrition Program. This is a program that’s been in place since
2010. I’m going to just basically give you some
background information about the organization and how it functions and some other specific
services that are available that, again, might be able to contribute as you continue your
development of reference diets for zebrafish. So, the National Animal Nutrition Program—I’m
going to refer to it as the NANP—is a national research support project associated with the
United States Department of Agriculture. It was established in 2010, as I mentioned
earlier, and its charge is to provide integrated and systematic … systemic approaches to
sharing, collecting, assembling, synthesizing, and disseminating scientific information,
educational tools, and enabling technologies on animal nutrition that will facilitate high-priority
research across agriculture species. So, this is a program that is targeted towards
production animals. With the fish being an important aquaculture
species, it’s included now, as well, but you can see all the other agricultural animals
that were really targeted by this program: the poultry, the swine, feeds cattle, dairy
cattle. I’d like to say now aqua and equine sciences
are all part of this program. And again, as you noted there in the charge,
being able to provide educational tools is a part of our program, and again, there are
some resources that are being made available through the NANP that I hope will be able
to assist the zebrafish community. The support for this program is by the Experiment
Station Committee on Organization and Policy. This is the State Agricultural Experiment
Station, so again, it’s agriculture based, and there’s also hedge funds that are provided
and administered by the USDA, National Institutes of Food and Agriculture, and then from time
to time there are some additional funds that are provided by participating scientists in
this NANP group. In terms of the history of this organization,
it was established in 2010, and it was renewed and then expanded in 2015. That’s when I actually became involved,
in 2015 during the renewal process. There was an interest in, again, expanding
the scope of the work besides just big cattle, dairy cattle, swine, and poultry. They decided to involve aquaculture, equine
scientists, as well as some of the small ruminants, like goats and sheep. Again, this research-supported activity was
requested by a lot of the ag animal representatives in the United States to provide support for
their industries. And the focus, again, is to address challenges
facing researchers, educators, and support agencies in animal agriculture that fills
voids in the research and academic communities. So, with this being the focus of NANP, it’s
looked to develop certain resources that might be helpful for ag animal communities, but
also to other research communities and educational entities, as well. My advancer’s giving me a little bit of
hesitation here. There we go. So again, the USDA NANP is one of seven national
research support projects that are administered by the USDA. Should I be hitting the screen or the … there
we go … maybe hit the screen. So again, supported by Hatch Funds, and it’s
administered by … prior to distribution of formulated funds from state agriculture
experiment stations. This gives you an idea of the administrative
advisors associated with the group, so they’re, again, representatives from state agriculture
… universities that have agriculture experiment stations, and so these are the administrative
advisors. We also interface with the national program
leaders in USDA NIFA, including Charlotte Kirk Baer and Steve Smith. The structure of the committee is there’s
really three separate acting committees. The first is the Coordinating Committee, and
it’s chaired by Merlin Lindemann at the University of Kentucky. The coordinating committee is charged with
facilitating the operations of the Feed Composition Committee and the Modeling Committee. Feed Composition is chaired by Phil Miller
at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and the Modeling Committee, Mark Hanigan at Virginia
Tech. Now, I’m going to give you a little more
detail about each of their committees and their activities, particularly the Feed Composition
Committee is one that, in interacting with Steve, we thought would have some valuable
opportunities to interact with the zebrafish community. Just a little bit more detail about how the
current committee structure was established. Applicants were recruited by a national search
and then evaluated by the administrative advisors, and appointments were made based on those
reviews, and it took into account the background and expertise of the candidates, their species
expertise, wanting to get a broad spectrum of the expertise with the various types of
agricultural animals. Also, geographic region and some other factors
were considered in making appointments to these committees. The Coordinating Committee, as I mentioned,
is the one that oversees and coordinates the selection process and works with the Feed
Composition and Modeling committees to allow for development of these educational and support
resources. It also advises the National Academies [of
Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine] on critical national priorities, particularly related
to the NRC publications. As Ron mentioned earlier, a number of these
National Research Council publications have been published and are still in progress. I think right now the poultry data is the
current one underway. The Coordinating Committee also tries to provide
a forum to address research support needs and some of the resources that have been developed
specifically do that, and I will highlight those in just a few minutes. So, this is the membership of the Coordinating
Committee. Again, we’ve got representatives from all
across the United States, and I might just highlight … I’m not going to go through
these names, but again, some of these folks may be in your particular geographical area,
and so, again, you might be able to reach out to them. I did want to mention that Robin Schoen of
the National Academies is also on the Coordinating Committee and is a representative that we
interface with a lot relative to NRC-type issues. The Feed Composition Committee, which, again,
I feel like probably has the greatest utility with regard to zebrafish research, is charged
with bringing together data and research resources in the area of feed composition and to foster
communication among those collecting feed composition information. As many of you probably know, if you look
in the back of most any NRC publication, there usually will be tables that deal with some
of the common ingredients that are analyzed in terms of their approximate composition,
as well amino acids and vitamins and minerals. Coordinating the compilation and the updating
of that information is a fairly significant task, and the Feed Composition Committee has
been charged with trying to make this process more streamlined and up to date. We’ll see a little bit later, based on the
website that they developed, you can find nutritional information on a wide variety
of feed ingredients, be they practical type of ingredients or purified or semi-purified
ingredients. And they, again, strive to facilitate efficiencies
and consistencies in data collection and maintenance. So, in addition to just providing up-to-date
compilations of new analyses of these various feed ingredients, they’re also involved
in trying to make sure that this information is going to be averaged and available for
the current research community. And there I got a little bit too fast, maybe
I’ll go back. No. I don’t want to go in reverse. Maybe I’ll skip that. Oh, there we go. So, it interfaces with and supports the nutrient
requirement revision committees as requested. This would be related to the NRC publications
because, again, all of those publications do try to provide information on feed ingredients,
along with nutrient requirements of the species that are being addressed. So, this committee, again, interfaces with
the NRC group. And I’ll do the arrow key. So, here’s the Feed Composition Committee. It’s chaired by Phil Miller, as I mentioned. Actually, the project has a postdoc who is
affiliated with this program, funded by the program, and is affiliated with the University
of Nebraska. That postdoc does a lot of the day-to-day
type of work in terms of maintaining the website—updating the information that’s on the website. Then you can see the other members of the
committee. I’ll highlight the fact that Brian Small
of the University of Idaho is one of our aquatic representatives on this Feed Composition Committee. The Modeling Committee, which probably has
a little less relevance to this particular group, but I want to mention it to you as
well, simply because in some of the agricultural animals they have made really sophisticated
use of models to look at modeling nutrient requirements, particularly of feed cattle,
dairy cattle, and swine. This particular committee is involved in trying
to improve the use of predictive technologies and tools to utilize and best utilize available
platforms for doing this nutritional modeling. They work with researchers to basically share,
combine, manage, manipulate, and analyze models and modeling information and interface with
and support the requirement revision committees as requested. And again, this interfaces with the National
Research Council, and some of the models that are published, along with the NRC publications
in terms of nutrient requirements, but also looking at models that can be used to help
predict nutritional needs. Some of these models are actually, as they’re
being developed and updated, are available on the NANP website and, in essence provide
a virtual update of the NRC publications. And here’s the membership of the Modeling
Committee. Again, Mark Hanigan at Virginia Tech is the
Chair, and once again, NANP funds a postdoc at Virginia Tech to oversee some of the day-to-day
activities in terms of updating and enhancing the modeling resources that are available. So, again, dependent on where you’re located,
you may be able to reach out to some of these individual committee members if you have interest
in knowing more specifically what they’re doing in the modeling arena. As I mentioned earlier, the NANP also interfaces
with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, more specifically the NRC or
National Research Council, with regard to their nutrient requirement publications. They interface and help contribute financially
in terms of generating some of the support that’s needed for these NRC publications,
particularly on some of the production animal sectors that are relied on more heavily these
days to provide some of the financial support to allow these NRC publications to come to
fruition, and this certainly can impact the amount of time between the revisions. As Ron mentioned earlier, we were able to
revise the NRC publication on fish and shrimp back in 2011, and the previous revision had
been 1993. So, our revision was a long time in coming,
and we’re glad that it’s there now as a reference. But I’m just amazed at how much more information
that’s becoming available, and that particular publication is becoming dated, for sure. The Feed Composition tables, again, is one
aspect of the NANP that provides more of a virtual type of update relative to feed composition,
and that’s through the website that I’m going to share with you here in just a few
minutes. It provides for a much more regular update
of nutrient requirement or nutrient composition information on various feed ingredients. The nutrient requirement models, including
their development and maintenance … this is, again, one of the major tasks of the Modeling
Committee, and they have quite regularly held workshops and other educational-type events
to try to bring people in that are interested in learning more about the nutritional models
with regard to production animals—exactly how you go about that process. I know, for instance, they just recently had
the American Society of Animal Science and the American Society of … Dairy Science
meetings this summer and they … this Modeling Committee held workshops at each of those
scientific conferences to try to explain or provide more information about these modeling
activities. So, here are a couple of different websites
that are associated with the NANP. The first one there,,
is the one that’s really the main website for NANP. Hopefully at the end of the talk we might
have a chance to go to that. I was reluctant to try to get anything embedded
into the presentation; knowing my technical skills and knowing that this was a streaming-type
presentation, I didn’t want to interrupt anything. But again, at the end of this session, maybe
we’ll be able to look at that website. Another activity of NANP has been to develop
this global animal nutrition network. It’s located at a different website, and
the idea here was to provide a source of information for anybody working in the area of animal
nutrition. That particular global animal nutrition network
was being funded by NANP through Elsevier, and there’s a copious collection of information. I’d have to say that, up to now, that particular
website has not provided the kind of information that we were really hoping for. It’s been improved to some extent, but we’re
hoping that it’s going to continue to improve. For the NANP website, I would also mention
that we’ve gone through a transition in terms of our website support company, and
we’ve just actually, since last summer, went with a new company that’s really helped
to enhance the website and particularly to populate a lot of the information on the feed
composition tables, and so we’ve been pleased with that transition. Here’s a screenshot of the website—the
National Animal Nutrition website—and those are not zebrafish on the screen, for sure. Those are dairy cattle, but we actually do
have some fish represented on the website, and what I particularly want to draw your
attention to is the fact that at this main site we have the feed composition section
and a modeling section, and then the publications and some other links on the website. You can go to the feed composition tab, as
I’ll try to do right here. And from that database, actually, you can
have specific databases associated with a global-type database or one that’s more
specific for dairy, beef, and swine. This database is alphabetically arranged,
starting with alfalfa cubes and fresh alfalfa—probably not two of the more common ingredients for
fish diets but, again, it’s a compendium of a wide variety of different feed ingredients
for various types of animals. Within that list you can click on specific
ingredients, and it will come to tables, which gives you information on approximate composition. One thing that I don’t think I have in this
particular presentation is the feed database resources. It’s another really helpful tab, which gives
a lot of information on these same ingredients but maybe more specific information. For instance, the Ajinomoto amino acid compendium
is listed there, and you can go in and find amino acid composition of a variety of different
ingredients. And then, there are some other databases associated
with these database resources. Oops, now it went to … this was just to
mention before we get out of the presentation … this global animal nutrition expert network. Again, it’s supposed to be a search engine
that helps you with finding information on different aspects of animal nutrition related
to, again, experts, topics, and so forth. In this case I just Googled it and put my
name in and tried a search, and I was disappointed to see that it wasn’t quite up to date like
I was hoping it to be. But anyway, you can find information on individual
researchers, some of the particular areas that they’re addressing in terms of their
research, some of their publications, others that are working in these areas. So again, the hope is that eventually this
global animal nutrition expert network would be a resource that you could go to to search
for others that are working in an area that may be of interest to you. So now, if I can get to my last slide … I
think you must have worn it out, Ron. Okay, here we go. So, I’m just going to summarize. The NANP enforces … again particularly for
this group that’s dealing with zebrafish nutrition, we feel like the feedstuff database
is dynamic, it’s current, it’s robust, and again, it’s continually improving in
terms of the information that’s available there. It’s a resource that I feel like is one
that this particular group may be able to use. I know when I joined the group back in 2015,
actually Jack Odle, who is another member of the coordinating committee, had just been
at the Experimental Biology meeting that you mentioned, Steve, in 2016 and was talking
about the need for this kind of activity with regard to standardizing diets for zebrafish,
and he mentioned it to me and I guess maybe he reached … or you reached out to me or
I reached out to you, and we started trying to find these commonalities or some specific
resources that might be able to assist this particular group. Also, the NANP hopes to provide expanded educational
options through the website and its global animal nutrition expert network, as well as
the workshop for modeling of nutritional needs of livestock, which again probably is not
as relevant to this group, but it does give you an idea about the NANP. And if … I don’t know if we have time,
but here’s the integrated animal performance databases with nutrition requirement estimates,
again interfacing with NRC publications. With 5 minutes, I don’t know whether I should
just take questions or try to go to the website. STEPHEN WATTS: I would suggest that it would
be a big benefit if you were to go, for an example, look at fishmeal. DELBERT GATLIN: Okay. STEPHEN WATTS: Just to show the workshop here
what you can see when you go to those websites. DELBERT GATLIN: Okay. So if I can … I’ve got to go to the Chrome,
I guess. Right? {short pause} Oops. I’m having a little trouble with the … If
I go to the … I need to get the numbers lock off I think …
STEPHEN WATTS: Go to, if you can. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you are. DELBERT GATLIN: Some of my technical expertise
is showing through as I’m trying to get to the website. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is it? DELBERT GATLIN: It’s Alright. Thank you very much. So, yeah, here is the main website. If we go to feed composition, it’ll go to
the database here, and if we go down … I want to go all the way down to fishmeal, as
Steve mentioned, and let’s go to Menhaden fishmeal. I need to click again. {brief pause} There we go. So, if then we go to tables, and you can find,
scrolling down, some of the information, of course, with other production animals. You have total digestible nutrients and a
few other measurements, but you’ve got, again, the general approximate composition
and a lot of other information on minerals. I think the amino acids are going to be reserved
over … here they are coming down this way and different terms for energy. So, you find a lot of information on, not
only these practical-type ingredients, but also purified ingredients. I’d also mentioned this feed database resource,
which the first one is the Ajinomoto database on amino acid composition of ingredients,
which is a very helpful source of information on amino acids. But there’s also this Dairy One, Evapig—not
ones that I’m particularly familiar with. But again, Aquaculture Feed and Fertilizer
Resources. They even have INPhO, FAOSTAT, the FDA Poisonous
Plant Database, Feedipedia, Food Plant International, so a variety of other resources on different
kinds of feed ingredients that might be used in animal nutrition. So, with that, maybe I’ll see if there’s
any other questions. STEPHEN WATTS: We have time for a couple of
questions. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How often are these tables
updated? DELBERT GATLIN: They’re being updated almost
weekly, at least monthly. That’s the real … one of the real important
aspects of this NANP was to provide updates on the feed composition tables, particularly,
you know, between … you’re not just waiting for the NRC to come out with a new bulletin. They want this information to be updated on
a regular basis, and so they’re going through a lot of different resources to keep these
databases up to date. Ryan Dilger at the University of Illinois
has been really instrumental in helping to get the website more functional. Again, we had some difficulties with the other
company that was running the website, and we made a transition, and that really upped
our progress in terms of being able to keep this information current. In addition to just updating the compositional
information, they’re going in and looking, for instance, at different ways of expressing
different fractions of carbohydrates, how you can assess the availability of carbohydrates
for different species. So, in addition to just basic information
on feed composition, they’re trying to expand some of the information that would be available
on the different kinds of feedstocks. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, I wonder about how
it’s going with specification of lipids. Like, you know, from the most basic, people
say, percent lipids. Then there’s a percent back in cholesterol. Now, cholesterol is an entity, but once you
go beyond cholesterol, the complexities of lipids and their biological importance, we’re
just beginning to understand or even begin to develop to understand. So, in the community, I know the omega-3/omega-6
ratio is appearing now, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Short-chain fatty acids, long-chain fatty
acids, you know. So, is there an effort to try to understand
that in feeds, in terms of growth and stuff beyond omega-3/omega-6? DELBERT GATLIN: Well, I would say that certainly
it’s important to be able to provide that level of detail. At this point, particularly with the feed
composition tables, there is information on fatty acid analysis. Some of the other components, non-saponifiable
lipids, there may information, like on cholesterol, but the detailed evaluation of all these lipid
components is probably not something that we have in these tables yet. That’s certainly something that, particularly
people that are working in the lipids area, are wanting to try to delineate. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about … I’m just
asking in your knowledge of the community. People look at and realize different proteins
have different amino acid compositions, and then they saw that there were growth differences
with the protein source. Has anyone in the rodent … has there been
equivalent studies of different fat sources, kind of trying to relate it to that complexity
the way it was done for the amino acids? DELBERT GATLIN: My response would be, certainly
there’s … in the fish area, we know that there’s a variety of different lipids that
contribute predominately in certain types of fatty acids, and we know for most of these
aquatic species the omega-3 fatty acids are really important. Some fish can elongate … desaturate the
shorter-chain linolenic acid. Other species, particularly marine carnivores,
cannot at all, and you have to have the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids preformed in the
diet. Beyond that, Ron mentions astaxanthin or some
of the carotenoids. There’s interest on the part of certain
fish species with regard to those kinds of lipid compounds, but it’s a group within
itself that has a lot of complexity. In the feed composition tables, I think there
is some information. I know on the NRC publication there’s more
information primarily on fatty acid composition of the different lipids. I’m not sure if there’s much beyond that. I can’t recall. STEPHEN WATTS: Thanks, Delbert, one more time.

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