Organic Minerals in Dog Food.
Co-promoted RTD Project.
Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar (UP); Faculdade de Farmácia (UP); Alltech Aditivos
The sustainability of the European pet food industry depends largely on the ability to introduce in the marketplace high quality "premium” diets meeting consumer demands, at competitive prices, while equally respecting the environment. For the pet food industry, there is currently a huge gap in knowledge of the mineral sources used for supplementation of diets. To meet this challenge, the main project promoter, Sorgal, a company specialized in the area of complete pet food for companion animals, has combined resources with ALLTECH, an industrial partner involved in the development, production and marketing of organic mineral supplements. The two promoters are focused on seeking synergies with the objective of promoting and stimulating innovation by characterizing and validating, in vitro and in vivo, the functionality of organic minerals. The ultimate goal of this combined effort is the development of a new range of "affordable premium" pet food (for dogs and puppies) that is more sustainable and of high nutritional value, formulated on the basis of the amount of bioavailable minerals, in order to deliver and ensure, simultaneously, the animals’ nutritional requirements while minimizing the environmental impact by reducing mineral excretion. As end products, the MinDog project proposes to acquire new scientific knowledge and to find technical solutions to identify the best sources of minerals (organic or inorganic) for the nutrition of puppies and adult dogs. Several organic and inorganic sources of both Zinc and Selenium will be evaluated and characterized. In vitro methodologies will also be developed to assess the absorption of minerals, particularly in terms of its bioavailability and bioaccessibility. In a second phase, the minerals selected in the previous activities will be incorporated in the diets for puppies and adult dogs, and subsequently evaluated according to physical and clinical parameters of nutritional welfare. Biomarkers of mineral status of puppies and adult dogs, to be used in veterinary medicine, will also be developed and validated. The knowledge generated by the project will have important economic benefits for the pet food industry, and will be used to build a prototype of a new range of "affordable premium" pet food of high nutritional value and differentiated features from the existing pet foods in the market. The technical knowledge acquired through MinDog will allow the consortium to consolidate its R & D capabilities and value the results through an increase in competitiveness and flexibility in the production of pet food, providing the companies the opportunity to enter new market segments and to increase their exports.