The award is endowed with 50,000 euros and will be given at the 58th Annual Meeting of the European Association for Animal production in Dublin from 26-29th August. The judging committee made special mention of his recent pioneering research to develop natural plant-based products as supplements for animal feeds.
Dr Wallace’s research career has focused on the mysterious world of the rumen. This is the large, four-chambered stomach which is a feature of animals such as cows and sheep (and is why these animals are called ruminants). The rumen is really a huge fermentation vat which houses billions of bacteria and several litres of fluid. In this gurgling chamber the rumen bugs break down the grass and other plant materials which the ruminants eat, but can’t digest without the help of the these bugs. The metabolism of the rumen bugs is vitally important to the health and productivity of ruminants and Dr Wallace is a world expert in this area.
Dr Wallace joined the Rowett Research Institute in 1976. He has published over 200 scientific papers and his expertise has taken him around the world to visit other laboratories and to give keynote talks at major scientific meetings. His work has always been of great interest to animal feedstuff manufacturers and to date he has worked with over 30 companies across Europe.
“Initially my research looked at how feed additives such as yeast worked, and I was also interested to discover the mechanism of action of antibiotics, which at one point were widely used in animal nutrition to promote growth. We found that these additives have an effect on the metabolism of the rumen bugs, and can have a large impact on the how the animals grow, and their productivity. Since 2006 growth-promoting antibiotics have been banned from the EU and so livestock producers need to find new ways to maintain similar production benefits to remain competitive against overseas producers, particularly in the USA, where the use of antibiotics is still legal.
“To address this issue, I have coordinated two large European projects, one of which is currently in progress. We are examining plants, plant extracts and other natural materials for their potential as safe alternatives to antimicrobials. We have been successful in identifying plant materials that can improve nitrogen retention in ruminants, which basically means that the animals grow better and their urine is less polluting. In addition, we have found a type of chrysanthemum which helps to improve the fat composition of milk. The current project, called REPLACE, is conducting some animal trials on the most promising plant materials collected during the first project. Early results from some of the trials with early-weaned pigs look very interesting as the plant extracts seemed to help prevent the diarrhoea which these piglets are very prone to suffer from,” said Dr Wallace.Professor Morgan, Director of the Rowett Institute, said of the award:
Sue Bird | alfa
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
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The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
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