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Master in

Animal nutrition

Next edition: 1st part: 27 September 2021 – July 2022 / 2nd part: September 2022 – June 2023

Master in

Animal nutrition

General information on the Unit

ECTS: 10
Contact hours: 117 (86 lectures, 31 practicals)
Personal work hours: 133
Character: Compulsory
Venue: Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza and laboratories of the Department of Animal Production and Food Science of the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Zaragoza
- Developed in the first academic year of the Master, during the first semester.
- The assessment of this Unit consists in a written exam at the end of the first semester.
Requisites and permanence
There are no previous requisites
Learning methods
Combination of theoretical and practical sessions consisting of the analysis of case studies, laboratory work and technical visits.
Lecturers deliver the topics in Spanish and in French. In the second case, simultaneous interpretation into Spanish is provided. The documents supplied by the lecturers may be written in Spanish, English or French.


Presentation of the Unit

This Unit provides the student with essential knowledge and skills for a professional in animal nutrition, to be able to use livestock feeds appropriately and guarantee optimum nutrition for the animals, mastering the use of different types of available raw materials and elaborated feeds, the determination of their nutritional value, the factors affecting their conservation and quality, and the feed manufacture technology. The treatment of topics lies within the context of the sustainability of production and obtention of safe and high quality products. The practicals conducted in the laboratory train students in the skills to make a practical evaluation of the quality and safety standards of livestock feed and the technical visits of the programme put them in contact with the real situations in feed manufacture.


Context within the syllabus

Animal nutrition today must rise to the challenge of guaranteeing production, minimizing related environmental risks and ensuring the production of safe and quality food products. Furthermore, the livestock feed mill industry is one of the essential elements of animal production and the rural economy and is therefore an important professional option for an animal nutrition expert.

Subsequently the students will complete their training in this field with the unit "Professional training stage related to animal nutrition" when they will come into contact with the livestock feed manufacture processes and feed formulation.



Specific competences

  • ­SC1 Knowing the characteristics of different feeds and their components and how to evaluate their nutritional value.
  • ­SC3 Performing well in professional environments, such as the feed mill industry, and being aware of the practical application of methods and techniques.
  • SC4 Using the methodology deployed in the evaluation of quality and safety standards in foods and compound feeds and animal origin products.

General competences

  • GC1 Integrating scientific and technical knowledge and applying them discerningly.
  • ­GC3 Analyzing results or strategies and elaborating conclusions which contribute to clarify the problems and to find possible solutions.
  • ­GC6 Team-working and promoting exchange and collaboration attitudes with other students, researchers and professionals.


Objectives of learning

This Unit has two fundamental objectives. The first is to provide solid knowledge of the raw materials and compound feeds that can be used in animal feeding and to train students to know how to characterize these feeds and evaluate the nutritional value in order to plan optimum feeding to satisfy production needs, considering its sustainability as well as the quality and safety standards demanded by legislation and the code of good practice. The second is to provide students with an applied training in the use of the technology employed in feed manufacture and to acquaint them with the issues and strategies involved in the animal feeding sector and in particular the feed manufacture industry.


Learning outcomes

Importance of the learning outcomes acquired in this Unit

The animal nutrition expert should have in-depth knowledge of the different types of livestock feeds, their characteristics, nutritional value and formulation, especially Mediterranean feeds, including the use of by-products and forage shrubs. One of the main professional opportunities for these experts is the feed manufacture industry, therefore they must be acquainted with the issues of this sector and with modern manufacture technologies. They should also be acquainted with the ways to determine the quality and safety standards demanded of the industry and its products by market and society.

Learning outcomes

The student, at the end of the learning of this Unit:

  • Is able to characterize the different categories of feedstuff and their components.
  • Can determine the nutritional value of animal feedstuff and elaborate and use feed composition tables.
  • Has gained further insight into applied feed production technology and the economic implications of such production.
  • Is able to analyse the quality standards for feed and compound feed, and to use the methodology applied for standard assessment.
  • Knows how to apply methods to control feedstuff safety, measurement techniques and evaluation systems.


  • Feed components and feed categories
    • Raw material and compound feed production and trends in international trade
    • Roughages
    • Agro-food by-products
    • Energy concentrates: cereal grains, roots, tubers, fats and oils
    • Protein concentrates: oil-seeds and pulses
    • Feeds of animal origin
    • Minerals, vitamins and other micro-ingredients
    • Feed additives: classification and related regulations
  • Feed technology
    • On-farm processing: harvesting, conditioning, storage and transport
    • Industrial processing
    • The economics of feed production
  • Raw material and compound feed quality
    • Quality standards
    • Sampling protocols
  • Feed safety
    • Detection, limits, prevention and control of microorganisms and undesirable substances in feedstuffs and feeds
    • Specifications and control of GMOs in animal feeds
    • Risk analysis and HACCP methods in the feed industry
    • Good manufacturing practices and ISO standards
    • Methods for assessing safety standards
    • International standards and regulations: Codex Alimentarius, other
    • Labelling and traceability
    • Detection and quantification of ingredients and additives in feeds: NIR technology
  • Case studies
  • Practicals
  • Technical visits


Learning activities

Learning activity 1: Lectures combined with applied examples
ECTS: 8.2
Hours: 205
Percentage of contact: 42%

Learning activity 2: Case studies to estimate feed nutritive value from composition data and to prepare and use different feed composition tables.
ECTS: 0.3
Hours: 8
Percentage of contact: 60%

Learning activity 3: Laboratory practicals to:
(1) Use microscopy of feeds for ingredient identification and quantification to determine their quality and detect possible adulterations.
(2) Apply various techniques to analyse feed microbiology, especially regarding Salmonella and mycotoxins, to determine whether they comply with the required safety standards.
(3) Detect genetically modified organisms in raw materials using molecular techniques.
ECTS: 1.0
Hours: 25
Percentage of contact: 60%

Learning activity 4: Technical visits, to complement the learning from lectures and in the laboratory illustrating the real application of methods, techniques and strategies. The visits and their particular learning objectives are:
(1) Experimental plots of rainfed forage shrubs and grasses. Learning objective: to become familiar with different species and determine their forage value and characteristics of adaptation to the different environmental conditions.
(2) Feed mill. Learning objective: to become familiar with the real feed mill environment and learn the processes and machinery used in the different manufacture stages.
(3) Laboratory for the analysis and control of feed quality. Learning objective: to become acquainted with the different types of analysis carried out and determine how the laboratory meets standards, observe sample preparation processes and learn to interpret results and to draw up reports. The student receives information on the quality assurance scheme implemented by the laboratory as well as quality accreditation systems.
(4) Feed mill. Learning objective: to further training on livestock feed safety control through demonstration of how the mill applies the HACCP system.
ECTS: 0.5
Hours: 12
Percentage of contact: 100%


Assessment methods

Assessment system 1: Written exams, composed of questions provided by the different lecturers of the Unit. The exam is made up of concrete questions requiring a short answer, being possible also multiple-choice tests. The exam assesses both the content of theoretical part and the understanding of case studies and laboratory practicals.
In the written exams, the short-answer questions are marked according to the technical and conceptual precision of the answer, and to the reasoning approach. The multiple-choice tests are marked according to the number of correct answers, rating negatively the wrong answers chosen within the same question.
Weighting: 100% of the final score of the Unit

Assessment system 2: Direct assessment by the lecturers tutoring the laboratory practicals and the technical visits. The marking is not numerical but a "pass" or "fail". In the case of laboratory practicals, with a "pass", the student may take the written exam.
For practical sessions, the understanding of the process and the interpretation of analytical results will be assessed. For the visits, active participation and compliance with previously established guidelines for process observation will be assessed.
Weighting: -



Lecturers from the University of Zaragoza

Faculty of Veterinary Science, Department of Animal Production and Food Science:
Agustín ARIÑO (aarino@unizar.es)
Susana BAYARRI (sbayarri@unizar.es)
Juan José CARRAMIÑANA (carramin@unizar.es)
Rosario OSTA (osta@unizar.es)
Consuelo PÉREZ (conperez@unizar.es)
Clementina RODELLAR (rodellar@unizar.es)

Lecturers from other institutions

Juan ACEDO-RICO, Consultor, Madrid, Spain
Ricardo ALASTRUÉ, Consultor, Zaragoza, Spain
Rosa AMEJEIRAS, Trouw Nutrition, Madrid, Spain
Ana BARROETA, Univ. Autònoma Barcelona, Spain
René BAUMONT, INRA, Saint-Genes Champanelle, France
Isabel CASTELLANOS, Biología y Nutrición S.A., Zaragoza, Spain
Begoña DE LA ROZA, Servicio Regional de Investigación y Desarrollo Alimentario, Villaviciosa, Spain
Ignacio DELGADO, CITA-GA, Zaragoza, Spain
Paloma GARCÍA REBOLLAR, Univ. Politécnica Madrid, Spain
Gonzalo GONZÁLEZ MATEOS, Univ. Politécnica Madrid, Spain
Isabel MARGINET, ASFAC, Barcelona, Spain
Pedro MEDEL, Imasde Agropecuaria, Madrid, Spain
María José MILÁN, Univ. Autònoma Barcelona, Spain
Nacif RIHANI, FAO, Roma, Italy
Roser SALA, Univ. Autònoma Barcelona, Spain
Manuel SANZ, Nutreco España Group, Madrid, Spain