US zoo opens new animal nutrition centre
St. Louis Zoo in Missouri, USA has begun operations in its new Animal
Nutrition Center on June 28. This 10,000-square-foot facility offers high-tech
capabilities for extensive research in zoo nutrition.
The new facility includes a fully equipped laboratory
for visiting and resident scientists to study the links between animal nutrition
and a healthy environment, in zoos and in the wild. Researchers will be able to
analyze appropriate diets using equipment such as a near-infrared
spectrophotometer (for measuring water, protein, fat, minerals and other
nutrients), a plant fiber analysis unit, and a high-performance liquid
chromatography system (fat soluble vitamins A and E).
The nutrition center is also world headquarters to
a software database that helps zoo and wildlife
managers around the globe maintain diet records, compare nutritional content of
specific food items and calculate overall composition of diets relative to
animal requirements. Zootrition® was developed by Ellen Dierenfeld, Ph.D., the
St. Louis Zoo's staff nutritionist. Related website:
St Louis Zoo
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