UP agriculture student hopes to make ‘valuable contribution’ after winning AFMA poster award

Posted on October 14, 2019

Kyle Venter, an MSc (Agric) student in animal science in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP), has been given the Best Student Nutrition Poster Award for 2019 by the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA).

His poster, titled “The in vitro analysis of acid-binding capacity of South African feed ingredients for broiler chickens and possible effects on performance”, was presented at the 51st South African Society for Animal Science (SASAS) National Congress in Bloemfontein, which was held earlier this year.

”I am passionate about making a difference in the industry to serve the future production of animals,” said an elated Venter. “This award meant a lot to me, and hopefully, my research can make a significant contribution to the industry. I hope to make a valuable contribution in the future and to improve the production and growth of healthier, stronger birds,” he continued.

He is currently doing his master’s at UP while also doing an internship with Chemunique, which is also funding his research. His master’s dissertation is titled ”Effects of acid-binding capacity of South African feedstuffs and water pH on the performance of broilers”, and he is supervised by Dr Thobela Nkukwana and Dr Peter Plumstead.

Explaining his research, Venter says: “Animal nutritionists currently formulate diets to satisfy nutrient requirements with little consideration being placed on digestive physiology. Including an ABC value in feed formulation will allow nutritionists to take the birds’ digestive physiology into account. The acid-binding capacity (ABC) is the amount of acid required in mEq to reduce 1 kg of feed to a pH of 3 (ABC-3) and 4 (ABC-4). Feed with a high ABC will elevate the gastric pH, which will have a detrimental effect on protein digestion. Younger broilers do not have a fully developed capacity to secrete sufficient hydrochloric acid, and feeding them a higher-ABC diet is detrimental to them, leading to reduced production and impaired gut health. This is why we need to take ABC values into consideration when formulating diets.”

The Student Nutrition Poster Award is presented annually by the AFMA Technical Committee with the aim of recognising and rewarding excellence among animal nutrition graduates in their dissemination of nutritional knowledge through a poster presentation at an animal science congress. The award is designed to promote interest in industry-related research on animal nutrition, to increase the quality of student poster presentations in terms of scientific contribution, and to acknowledge excellence in this valuable medium.

Venter was also on the winning team for the SASAS Student Quiz at the 2019 SASAS Congress.

As the winner of the AFMA Student Nutrition Poster Award, he has been awarded a cash prize as well as complimentary registration to attend the annual AFMA Symposium and cocktail function in October 2019.

- Author Martie Meyer

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