Institute of Animal Science
The Institute of Animal Science LUHS established for the fundamental and applied research in zootechny and biology on international and national level in the field of biomedical sciences.
The Institute was founded in 1952. The research is conducted by seven departments. The Institute has a staff totaling 90 persons, 22 of which are scientific staff. 6 doctorates study at the Institute. The Institute is headed by dr. Violeta Juškienė.
At the Institute, respectively, 172 and 12 researchers maintained the doctoral and habilitated doctoral theses. The researchers have published 60 volumes of scientific papers under the title "Gyvulininkystė" (Animal Husbandry), 20 monographs, textbooks and books, registered 19 patents and received 4 State Premium of the Republic of Lithuania. The breed of Lithuanian White pigs has been developed and the breeds of Lithuanian Black-and-White and Lithuanian Red cattle and Lithuanian Blackface sheep have been improved at the Institute. The Lithuanian technique for keeping and use of breeding bulls has been worked out and livestock embryo transplantation applied. Nutrition of farm animals and efficient utilization of feeds has been scientifically grounded at the Institute. Indigenous Lithuanian farm animal breeds have been preserved and studied. New environmentally friendly technologies of animal housing and welfare are being developed and implemented.
The Institute participates in the activities of the centre Nemunas which integrates science, studies and business. Different laboratories such as Animal Nutrient Digestibility Studies, Feed Production and Feeding Technology Assessment, Animal Genetic resources Research and Conservation ex situ laboratories are being established that in the future will become part of Animal nutrition and Biotechnology Centre.
The Institute works in close co-operation with the Ministry of Agriculture of Lithuania, various animal breeding services, enterprises of food and food additive manufacturing, milk and meat processing industry. The Institute has established close relations with the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, agricultural higher schools and scientific institutions, Agricultural Advisory Service, House of Agriculture and various farmers’ associations. The Institute takes participation in various international programmes, makes reports in international scientific conferences and publishes its research findings in various scientific publications of Lithuania and other countries. The research findings are used for preparing state agricultural, animal breeding, milk and meat production programmes, standards for feedstuffs, milk and meat in compliance with the requirements of the European Union.
The main research activities of the Institute:
1. The studies of animal genetics, biology of reproduction and genetic resources.
2. The studies of animal nutrition and production quality.
3. The studies of animal welfare and environmental issues related with animal production.
The studies of animal genetics, biology of reproduction and genetic resources. Research includes genetic studies of the farm animals bred in Lithuania, studies of the genetic diversity in breeds, genetic lines and populations of domestic birds, hens, geese and turkeys, development and implementation of progressive methodical guidelines for animal selection, formation of the guidelines in animal breeding, unification of the breeding value determination, investigation of the influence of genetic factors of the performance of sheep and pigs bred in Lithuania, crossbreeding of separate animal breeds for high production quality; investigation the effects of cryopreservation processes on stallion semen quality, to development of bovine oocyte freezing methods and improvement of the Lithuanian technique of keeping and use of breeding bulls. The researchers work out methodical guidelines for mare insemination in Lithuania, and transplant bovine embryos and have adopted and implemented cryopreservation of stallion semen and took part in the establishment the semen and embryo bank for disappearing indigenous farm animals.
The studies of animal nutrition and production quality. Research includes determination of the biological value of new feed additives and feeds prepared by new technologies, their suitability for animal nutrition, the influence of animal nutrition factors on the production of high quality and safe animal products. The researchers aim at development of cheap and ecological technologies of grass ensilage and silage feeding, investigation of usage possibilities of home-made protein feeds and by-products of food industry for complete animal feeding and search for more effective ways to use biotechnological products (enzymes, probiotics, etc.) for improvement of feed conversion. The activities include analyses of the chemical composition, quality and nutritive value of feedstuffs. Analyses of amino acids, volatile- and great molecular weight fatty acids are carried out. Research activity aimed to study the influence of feeding factors on the quality of milk and meat.
The research work includes usage of home-made protein and energy feeds in the diets of poultry, determination of the optimal amount of protein-vitamin supplements, premixes and biologically compounds in poultry diets.
The studies of animal welfare and environmental issues related with animal production. The research work includes investigations into the newest raising methods of animals and poultry, technological exploitation of animal housing facilities, technologies for ecological raising of animals and measures for pollution reduction in animal husbandry. New animal housing systems are evaluated according to the effects of housing conditions on physiology, behaviour, welfare, productivity of animals and economic and farming efficiency.Research concentrates into two directions: investigation of the influence of environmental factors on the physiological state and productivity of farm animal and environmental problems on animal and poultry farms.
The scientists of the Institute take active part in the FP7 – REGPOT projects Feed-to-Food and BALTFOOQUAL, COST activities GEMINI (“Maternal interaction with gametes and embryos“), EPICONCEPT (“Epigenetics and Periconception Environment - Periconception environment as an epigenomic lever for optimising food production and health in livestock“), FAIM („Optimising and standardising non-destructive imaging and spectroscopic methods to improve the determination of body composition and meat quality in farm animals“), prepeared ERASMUS project EUDIVCAMP („European Farm Animal Diversity Campus“). The scientists of the Institute are active members of such international organizations as European Association for Animal Production (EAAP), European Grass Federation (EGF) and International Society of Animal Genetics (ISAG).