"To create the feed industry of the future, we have to use the latest technologies and do so quickly," according to T. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech, Inc., Nicholasville, KY. To do this, costs must be lowered through use of alternative materials such as fiber and existing raw materials, Lyons said as he welcomed more than 1,580 attendees to a two-day research symposium.

"Delivering on the nutrigenomics promise," the concept behind the 22nd Annual Alltech Symposium, held April 24-26, introduced researchers and producers from 71 countries to the science of how diet and genetics can influence health and disease. Alltech's focus is to supply nutrients that result in better health for animals.

The goal of nutrigenomics -- short for nutritional genomics -- is to develop foods and feeds that can be matched to genotypes of animals to benefit health and enhance normal physiological processes. Using gene chips that contain the genetic code of an animal, researchers can measure the effects of certain nutritional supplements, and how they alter the gene's instruction of the body. This has global implications, as more people are increasing their meat consumption -- for example, in the next 15 years, the demand for beef is expected to increase by 80%, Mingan Choct, an animal scientist from Australia, told Lexington's Herald-Leader.

But, there is still much to learn about how nutrigenomics will help enhance animal health. In an effort to expand its research and product development, Alltech announced it is building a Center for Animal Nutrigenomics and Applied Animal Nutrition. To assist in funding the $11-million center, during the symposium, the state of Kentucky presented Alltech with a $1-million grant. The nutrigenomics center, opening in 2007 or '08, will add 20,000 sq. ft. to Alltech's campus and is expected to create 40 additional research-and-development positions. -- Stephanie Veldman