Interview

Dr.

Kelly S. Swanson

Associate Professor of Animal and Nutritional Sciences
Department of Animal Sciences
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA
interview - Jun/2010

   
this interview in portuguese    

Dr. Kelly Swanson is associate professor of Animal and Nutritional Sciences at the Department of Animal Sciences (University of Illinois, USA). His Research Interests are: comparative nutrition; companion animal nutrition; nutritional genomics; appetite regulation and obesity; intestinal microbiota and disease. He is one of the firsts researchers working with nutrigenomics of dogs and cats, the new tool that promisses in the near future great developments of our understandind on nutrition.


Dr. Swanson was in Brazil giving lectures at the II International Congress and IX Symposium of nutrition of companion animals of CBNA (Brazilian College of Animal Nutrition) Campinas/SP in May/2010. Check out the following interview that he gave to nutrição.VET by e-mail.


01: What are the main contributions of nutrigenomics to dogs and cats?
02: What about yeast cell wall as a functional ingredient in pet food?
03: What do you think are the future perspectives on pet nutrition?
04: What did you know about the pet food in Brazil?
05: What was your impression about the Internation Congress of CBNA?
06: What Congresses do you usually go?

     

   
     
     

nutrição.Vet: 01- Until today, what were the main contributions of nutrigenomics to the nutrition of dogs and cats?

 

 

 

Dr. Swanson: I am happy to see that many research groups have begun using genomic biology to study nutrient-gene interactions. 

 

In experiments using microarray technology, which provides global view of gene expression (gene expression profiles), genes and/or metabolic pathways have of interest have been identified for further study.  Such experiments have enhanced our understanding of tissue biology (e.g., adipose, skeletal muscle, intestine, skin) or have identified potential targets for the prevention or treatment of disease. 

 

While some of the basic research is only laying the foundation for future studies with more direct application to the petfood industry, interesting research has already been performed in the following topic

areas: canine aging; canine and feline obesity; exercise physiology; gastrointestinal disease; atopic dermatitis; and more. 

 

Future research in this field is sure to have direct effects on veterinary care and nutritional management of pets.


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"... Future research in this field is sure to have direct effects on veterinary care and nutritional management of pets.”

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nutrição.Vet: 02- Brazil now is producing a lot of yeast cell wall. What is your opinion regarding the use of this as a functional ingredient in pet food to promote health?

 

Dr. Swanson: Yeast cell wall extracts are very interesting products and have the potential to improve intestinal health, but this area is in extreme need of more research in dogs and cats. 

 

Much of the research has been performed in livestock species. 


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"... Animals under stress or compromised state (...) are most likely to benefit from such products.”

 

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Given the unique nutrient requirements and living conditions of dogs and cats, research in these species is imperative. 

 

Animals under stress or compromised state, such as weanling animals, geriatrics, or those prone to gastrointestinal distress, are most likely to benefit from such products.

 

However, the research is needed in these populations to determine proper dosage and to determine mechanisms by which these products function.

 

In addition to dosage, product consistency is often an issue.  Product variability (e.g., nutrient composition, etc) within and among manufacturers needs to be improved/minimized. 

 


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nutrição.Vet: 03-What do you think is the future perspectives on pet nutrition? What's ahead?

 

 


Dr. Swanson: From a research standpoint, technological advances will continue to expand our knowledge of pet nutrition. 

 

Emerging fields of study, including nutrigenomics, nutrigenetics, proteomics, and metabolomics, nanotechnology, and advances in imaging capabilities will certainly play an important role.  These areas will enhance our understanding of companion animal biology on a molecular level, yet provide a means for performing research in a less invasive manner. 

 

Molecular tools are also being applied to studying microbial populations in and on the body.  Using these tools to develop a better understanding of host-microbe interactions may not only impact gastrointestinal health, but that of the oral cavity, urogenital tract, skin, and many others too.  These research initiatives will ultimately lead to improved dietary and lifestyle management.


Maternal and early postnatal nutrition is very important, but rarely studied in dogs and cats. Recent initiatives in this area, however, will hopefully lead to proper maternal and weanling diets.  Geriatric health and clinical diseases will continue to be important areas of study as well.  In the United States, a wide variety of clinical diets are available. 

These will continue to improve and extend the quality of life for pets.  It appears that there are not as many clinical diets in the Brazilian market, but think they will be more common in the future.

 

Nontraditional diets (e.g., raw; home-made; organic; etc) are very popular right now and think they will continue to increase in the near future.  They may not be as popular in Brazil as in the United States, but likely will increase. 

 

The use of functional ingredients/phytochemicals will likely continue to increase as well.

 

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"... Emerging fields of study, including nutrigenomics, nutrigenetics, proteomics, and metabolomics, nanotechnology, and advances in imaging capabilities will certainly play an important role.”

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nutrição.Vet: 04- What did you know about what was being done on pet nutrition in Brazil and what were your impressions about what did you find here?

 

 

Dr. Swanson: Before my visit, I had limited knowledge of the Brazilian petfood industry.  I knew Brazil was one of the largest petfood producers in the world, the names of the largest companies, and leading research teams, but that was about all. 

 

I had a great time and met a lot of interesting people during my visit.  I learned a great deal from the oral and poster sessions at the II International Congress on Companion Animal Nutrition.  I was impressed with the number of posters and the variety of research questions being tested. 

 

In addition to attending the Congress, I toured a local petfood producer, a palatant manufacturer, and UNESP at Jaboticabal while in Sao Paulo State.  I was really impressed with the people I met and volume and variety of products produced in the petfood and palatant facilities.

 

It was also very interesting and educational to tour the veterinary clinic and animal

facilities at UNESP.

 

Although ingredient options may be a bit different, in general, it appears that the research questions, manufacturing processes, and foods available in Brazil are much like those in the United States.

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"... Although ingredient options may be a bit different, in general, it appears that the research questions, manufacturing processes, and foods available in Brazil are much like those in the United States...”

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nutrição.Vet: 05- What was your impression about the II International Congress about nutrition of companion animals, in Brazil, where you recently (may 6, 2010) gave lectures?

 

 

Dr. Swanson: I really enjoyed my time at the II International Congress. 

 

 

The size of the meeting (200-300 people) was very nice.  It provided a nice environment for networking and research discussion. 

 

I especially enjoyed my interaction with the graduate students presenting their research during the poster session.

 

Everybody was so kind and willing to discuss their research with me.  The topics presented during the oral sessions (e.g., dietary fiber; processing; etc) were also very interesting.


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nutrição.Vet: 6- What Congresses do you usually go to keep yourself up to date on pet nutrition? (What Congresses do you recommend?)

 

 

Dr. Swanson: Here is a list of meetings I often attend:

 

Petfood Forum and Workshop – annual meeting (April) that provides a mix of industry trends, manufacturing practices, research updates, and networking with petfood manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and other services associated with the industry.

 

Waltham International Nutritional Sciences Symposium – this is usually held every 2-3 years and is always a great meeting, packed with excellent science.  The next meeting will be held in Cambridge, UK in September of 2010.

 

Experimental Biology (EB) – very large annual (April) meeting (10,000-15,000 attendees and exhibitors) focused on anatomy, physiology, nutrition, etc, with a large focus on basic science.  The meeting has a very minor focus on animal nutrition, but provides a good opportunity for networking and to get an update on a vast array of scientific topics.

 

National American Society of Animal Sciences (ASAS) meeting – large annual (July) meeting focused on livestock and companion animal science, including nutrition.  Basic and applied research is presented at this meeting.

 

American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) – annual meeting (June) with a focus on veterinary medicine and disease.  However, several sessions/programs have a focus on nutrition, endocrine diseases, and gastrointestinal health and diseases, that are very useful.


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"... Experimental Biology (EB) – very large annual (April) meeting (10,000-15,000 attendees and exhibitors)...”

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see also

 

 



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