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Fiona Tansil

Position/Title: M.Sc. by thesis
email: ftansil@uoguelph.ca

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I am currently an MSc-Thesis student in animal nutrition under the supervision of Dr. Anna-Kate Shoveller. My passion in animal nutrition started when I took the Pet Nutrition class and participated in the Royal Canin tour early in my undergraduate career at the University of Guelph. Further, in my 4th year, I completed a clinical nutrition research study under Dr. Adronie Verbrugghe, focusing on the effects of calcitriol on canine cancer. I was also fortunate to present my discoveries at the ICCI 2016 Cancer Research Symposium in OVC. After completing my BSc Honors, I pursued a career as an animal feed formulator at a leading Asian agri-food company, Japfa, in my home country, Indonesia. Through this role, I began to have a keen interest in investigating alternative protein ingredients that have desirable protein quality, sustainable, and economically-feasible, to replace the commonly-used soybean meal and fish meal in the feed industry. The quest for alternative protein in feed is of great importance to ensure food security to feed the projected 9 billion people by 2050. Motivated by the urgency for innovative protein ingredients and to further understand the protein quality concept, I decided to pursue a Master’s in this field.  

My Master’s project will evaluate the ileal digestibility and Indicator Amino Acid Oxidation (IAAO) technique in swine to quantify the protein quality of black soldier fly larvae (BSFL), an alternative protein ingredient. Protein quality is a measure of amino acid (AA) bioavailability and refers to the capacity of a protein to satisfy AA requirements of an individual. For ileal digestibility, swine will be surgically-fitted with T-cannula at the ileum for digesta collection and fed diets with graded levels of BSFL. The IAAO method measures CO2 released from AA oxidation and has been demonstrated to be efficient and accurate in quantifying AA bioavailability. BSFL is our protein of interest because it is sustainable, environmentally friendly and highly nutritious. It is sustainable because BSFL can be fed organic waste and efficiently convert it to protein biomass. Results from my study will hopefully provide a more precise AA bioavailability data on BSFL; hence, reducing the dependency on current commercial ingredients. It will also provide an evaluation of different protein quality methods and give insights to feed industries and academic communities.

In the future, I hope to contribute to the animal feed industry or pursue further research in the same field.