How low can it get?

A million-dollar project to investigate reduced protein diets

By Mingan Choct

Australia has set a net zero target for 2050 and agriculture has a significant role to play in helping the nation achieve this it. Poultry production has a very low carbon footprint to start with but there is more the industry can do to reduce emissions even further.

Associate Professor Sonia Liu has been awarded a project worth more than a million dollars by Australian Research Council to examine innovative ways to use reduced protein diets for broiler chickens. The focus is to enhance the affordable and environmentally-viable production of chicken-meat with improved bird welfare and flock health.

Working closely with one of the members of the Poultry Research Foundation, Dr Liu aims to secure sustainable chicken-meat production by the radical reduction of conventional protein sources and the use of local or alternative feedstuffs. This project will dovetail other PRF projects in the area of nutrition and novel approaches to feed formulation as well as collaborating with Dr Andrew Holmes from the Charles Perkins Centre to utilise our extensive knowledge of starch/glucose and protein/amino acid digestive dynamics, diet-host-microbiota interaction, and in-depth understanding of Australian feed materials.

“Ethical production of clean and green animal protein sources cannot just rely on conventional thinking. We need to explore cross-disciplinary collaborations and employ emerging tools currently deployed in pure sciences”, said Dr Liu.

More information on the project may be found at the Australian Research Council site.

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