PERAQ objectives are:
- To phenotype and quantify the adaptive responses of animals when experiencing changing and limiting environments during their production cycle and over their lifetime, with a focus on nutritional challenges. Researches focuses on priorities between productive (lactation, reproduction, growth and survival) and non-productive (maintenance) functions and on characterizing trajectories of trade-offs between life functions over lifetime. PERAQ identifies productive, physiological, and metabolic indicators with a view to characterize the overall robustness of the animal. Such an assessment is to be used for phenotyping animals for selection purposes, and for improving farming practices.
- To study how the diversity of individuals within a herd contributes to maintain the performances and the robustness of the herd when facing disturbances of diverse natures, intensities and durations. The ultimate goal is to identify, determine and elaborate farming practices that can increase animal and herd robustness.
- To analyze, predict and evaluate the effects of farming practices and their combination or organization in time on the performance of animals and herds, and the overall quality of their products. PERAQ takes into account the interactions between genetics and technological processes. The overall quality of products is addressed by combining nutritional, sensorial, technological and sanitary aspects of milk and dairy products, carcass and meat, at animal and herd levels. The ultimate goal is to authenticate the conditions of production and to develop indicators and innovative tools for the prediction of product qualities.
The analytical methods developed within PERAQ are measurements of metabolic and hormonal patterns of animals (biochemistry, RIA), use of spectral methods (NIRS) and image analyses (echography), and determination of lipid composition of ruminant products. PERAQ also drives large data sets analyses (multivariate analyses and meta-analyses) and farm surveys to get new information on the studied topics. The investigations are conducted in short-term analytical experiments to study the physiological and metabolic responses of animals, long-term experiments to study animal adaptation throughout its lifespan, surveys to characterize farming practices and herd performances, and modelling to predict the responses of animals and herds. The evaluation of the overall product quality relies on participative and multicriterion approaches.
Contact: Anne Ferlay