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Laboratory animal diet an environmental factor that affects research

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 — Poster Session III

10:00 a.m. – Noon

Natcher Conference Center




  • D Barnard


During the last 50 years, the scientific community has taken actions to control environmental factors that contribute to the response of laboratory animals to scientific manipulation. Laboratory animal diet is recognized as one of these important environmental variables that need to be controlled to insure good research. Diet can affect research and animal health through both its’ nutrient and non-nutrient content. These dietary components include but are not limited to fatty acids, phytoestrogens, microbial pathogens, phytosterols, nitrosamines, acrylamide, mycotoxins, pesticides, and heavy metals all of which can potentially affect research outcomes. Nutrients that influence carcinogenesis in laboratory animals include vitamin A, methionine, choline, selenium, fiber, zinc, calcium, vitamin C, fat, and calories. The American Institute of Nutrition, National Academy of Science, Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources, and Laboratory Animals Centre Diets Advisory Committee support the use of “standard reference diets” in biomedical research as a means to control the potential confounding variability diet can introduce into research. Feeding the most appropriate purified or natural ingredient diet can control variability in research due to dietary environmental factors. Quality control programs at the diet manufacturers, distributors and animal facilities are another means to control dietary environmental factors.

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