Nearly every nutrient, but also undesirable substances in feed (e.g. mycotoxins) or secondary plant metabolites may influence the immune system. On the other hand, the conflict of the host with viral, bacterial, mycotic or parasitic pathogens, which are mediated via the immune system, may be modulated by immunomodulatory feed ingredients. The various interactions between nutrition and the immune system are the research focus of the interdisciplinary team. Special issues are investigated in the various animal species. Feeding trials are carried out to demonstrate effects in vivo or to collect primary cells for ex vivo or in vitro investigations.
The team operates different specialized laboratories:
- Cell culture
- Biochemistry and molecular biology
In the mycotoxin laboratory, feed and physiological samples such as blood serum/plasma, bile, kidney, liver, muscle, milk, eggs, urine and faeces from feeding experiments with farm animals are analysed for mycotoxins and their metabolites. The focus is on the fusarium mycotoxins deoxynivalenol and zearalenone and on ochratoxin A and their metabolites. Methods for the detection of T-2 toxin and metabolites are under development. Two conventional HPLC’s with UV-, DAD- and fluorescence detectors and an LC-MS/MS (HPLC with a tandem mass spectrometry detector) are available for the analysis. Because of the benefits of LC-MS/MS (e.g. high specificity and sensitivity, simpler sample preparation procedures), this method is used for a growing number of analytical issues.