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News 1516 views last update:14 Jan 2016

New method validated for nutrient digestibility studies

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University in the UK have validated a new procedure for measuring the concentration of titanium dioxide; a commonly used inert diet marker for digestibility studies in pig and poultry.

Inert markers are widely used in nutrition research to quantify digestibility of dietary ingredients. A bespoke method for analysis of titanium was established nearly 20 years ago and has been commonly used ever since, but separate analysis for the titanium and the nutrient under investigation is always required.

The new method makes use of a modern instrument, the inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) analyser, which is now commonly used for mineral analysis in many scientific fields.  The ICP-OES has the capacity to measure multiple minerals simultaneously, and therefore allows the titanium marker to be measured concurrently with other minerals under investigation.

"This may seem a simple change but the rigour required to propose changing such an important method is immense – as the journal paper shows", says Dr Emily Burton, who leads the University's Poultry Research Unit.  Natalie Morgan, the scientist who carried out the validation stated "As poultry nutritionists, we carry out this type of analysis on hundreds of samples each year, so this acceptance of validation represents a huge saving in time and consumables to us – which we are pleased to share with other researchers working in the field of nutrition".

The paper is published in the current issue of Animal.

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