Already in 1948, the Institute of Animal Nutrition was founded as one of the first institutes of the new Federal Agricultural Research Centre (FAL) in Braunschweig-Völkenrode. Since its beginnings the institute has been doing research in the fields nutrition and metabolism physiology, food science and evaluation. During the first years/decades the emphasis was laid on the effective use of feed and the increase of animal performance to ensure a sufficient food supply of the population.
Research was based on feeding trials carried out in the FAL’s own holdings in Braunschweig-Völkenrode and Salzdahlum as well as on several farms in the Emsland. The institute also established innovative study facilities for quantitative metabolic measurements mainly in dairy cows. First, the emphasis was laid on mineral and nitrogen metabolism in different stages of performance, later on the significance of fat in animal nutrition also became an important issue.
The Institute of Animal Nutrition for the first time carried out long-term metabolic measurements in dairy cows with regard to regulatory relationships between gravidity and lactation until birth. In addition, the meat composition was investigated; for this purpose the institute cooperated with the Federal Agency for Meat Research in Kulmbach.
In 1966, the FAL – and with it the Institute of Animal Nutrition – was incorporated into state research within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. This increased the institute’s advisory activities for the federal government.
The emphasis shifted with the rapid increase in agricultural production – competitiveness and rationalization moved into focus. Industrially produced mixed feed and growth-accelerating substances were used in animal nutrition at an increasing percentage and had to be investigated. Over the years, the emphasis moved from basic food supply to an improvement of the knowledge on the nutritional requirements of farm animals. New and less conventional feed, unconventional production methods and recycling procedures as well as research on additives and harmful substances broadened the research spectrum.
Today, research at the Institute of Animal Nutrition concentrates on the effective transformation of feed and ingredients into high-quality and safe food or other animal products. Economic, ecological and ethical aspects as well as animal health are taken into account.
Since the reorganization of public research within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) on January 1, 2008, the Institute of Animal Nutrition in Braunschweig has been part of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut.