crosbiem's picture    

Michelina Crosbie

Position/Title: M.Sc. (Thesis) Candidate
Phone: 519-824-4120 ext. 58335
Office: ANNU 229

  • B.Sc. Animal Biology, University of Guelph (2018)

I am currently an M.Sc. thesis student studying Swine Nutrition under the supervision of Dr. Lee-Anne Huber. My passion for animal nutrition started many years ago through my work in various areas of the pet food industry. But no matter how much I learned about nutrition, I always had a drive to learn more. This drive is what brought me to the University of Guelph to complete my B.Sc. in Animal Biology with a focus in Animal Nutrition. During my undergrad I also became really interested in how genetics and nutrition interact in purebred dogs, and was fortunate enough to work with Dr. Anna-Kate Shoveller and Dr. Andy Robinson to analyse some research on the topic. It was this experience that sparked my interest in graduate studies. While there’s been a bit of a learning curve for me in working with pigs instead of dogs, I’ve grown to be just as passionate about them and am very excited to be working with them.

My research focuses on evaluating insect meal as a feed ingredient to assess if it is a viable protein source to feed to pigs. I will also explore the effectiveness of its functional compounds, which could reduce the use of in-feed antibiotics in pig diets. My current research involves the use of ileal cannulated pigs, which allows us to sample what protein is left at the end of the small intestine, as well as the use of non-cannulated (intact) pigs, so we can sample urine, feces, and measure metabolic gas exchange using calorimetry. All of this will allow us to determine the standardized digestibility of the amino acids in insect meal, and the energy available for metabolism to assess its value as a feed ingredient to pig producers. In 2019 I will do further research to determine the effectiveness of the bioactive compounds in insect meal to see if it can have metabolically protective effects on piglets, as research shows the exoskeleton of insects and components of the fat found in insect meal have prebiotic and antimicrobial effects.

My results will hopefully provide another viable protein source that producers can feed to their pigs that can also reduce their reliance on in-feed antibiotics. This is significant because not only are insects environmentally sustainable and ethically produced, they can help reduce the competition between humans and pigs for certain feedstuffs we both consume, which is important as the population of the world increases. As well, a reduction in antibiotic use can prevent antibiotic resistance and is preferable to consumers.

In my free time I enjoy travelling, watching hockey, and going for walks with my dog, Ella. In the future I hope to do a PhD and work in the pet industry.