PerformaNat is doing research on transport physiology and epithelial transport. We are particularly focused on the underlying mechanism of nutrient uptake.
The classical animal feed science studies the optimal composition of feed as well as the technical procedures, which improve shelf life and digestibility of feed. The exact composition of the included nutrients is an important part within this field of research.
PerformaNat on the other hand, deals primarily with the question how these nutrients are absorbed from the feed. Therefore it is mandatory to understand the underlying transport mechanisms inside the gastrointestinal tract. On cellular level, various transport processes are involved in nutrient absorption. By using different methods it can be examined whether substances are transported through channels into the cell (transcellular) or whether their transport occur paracellularly (i.e. passing through the space between the cells).
PerformaNat elucidates how transport processes can be influenced in order to improve animal health by optimizing nutrient resorption. We are particularly focused on the effect of herbal components on nutrient transport.
The product development is carried out in in vitro and in animal feeding studies.
Conventional feed mixtures for livestock are mainly based on monocultures and contain components deriving from herbal, spice and medicinal plants only infrequently. PerformaNat examines how active ingredients of herbal origin affect nutrient uptake and how they can be used in animal husbandry. The product development focuses on improving animal health and animal welfare.
In product development the identification of the underlying transport mechanisms is in the spotlight. In order to elucidate the structures involved in the transport processes several molecular biological and immunohistochemical methods are applied. Additionally there are a number of methods available to examine the transport processes of single cells or cell clusters of the gastrointestinal tract: By using the patch-clamp technique and the ion-selective microelectrode, substances can systematically be tested regarding their specific effect on nutrient transport. In a next step, the dose-response relationship of potential active ingredients is investigated in large-scale trials in more detail with vital tissue by using the Ussing chamber method.
Following these laboratory in vitro studies, animal feeding in vivo studies are carried out to study the influence of the previously tested active components on the metabolism of animals. Beside performance related parameters, metabolic parameters are analyzed – since the supply of nutrients such as calcium or magnesium is relevant for the occurrence of metabolic disorders.