Murdoch professor recognised for nutrition research

December 23, 2014

A Murdoch University professor has been awarded a prestigious Fellowship by the Nutrition Society of Australia (NSA) for his outstanding contribution to nutrition research and its applications to people and animals.

Professor David Pethick, who leads the Centre for Production Animal Research at the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, has enjoyed a 34-year research career which has seen him contribute valuable findings to the sheep, beef cattle and pig industries, as well as to dog and horse studies, generating $17 million of research funding in the process.

His nutritional biochemistry research has led to diet formulation for beef cattle and lambs to optimise meat quality and shown that lamb compares favourably to pork and chicken for the beneficial minerals iron and zinc. He is also involved in research which shows that lamb is a significant source of beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids and is also low in saturated fats.

“The field of nutrition research is delivering particularly exciting results for the Australian sheep meat industry because we can now prove to consumers the health benefits that some of the most common restaurant cuts such as lamb rumps and trim racks can provide," he said.

"Having a good understanding of the basic biochemical pathways and how they are controlled provides a good starting point for research into a diversity of topics that includes muscle function during exercise, gut health, nutritional diseases, production feeding, meat eating quality and the links between meat composition and implications for human nutrition.

"It's very pleasing to have this research recognised by the Nutrition Society of Australia and I'm looking forward to our ongoing work in this area so that the sheep meat and other industries can continue to meet the needs of the consumer," he said.

Professor Pethick completed an undergraduate degree in agricultural science at the University of Adelaide. He completed his PhD in the field of ruminant biochemistry and nutrition at Cambridge University in the UK. This set him on a research path that has involved many different animal species and their nutrition, biochemistry and physiology.

Career highlights  have included playing an instrumental role in the development of Meat Standards Australia’s lamb and beef quality meat grading schemes, which predict the tenderness of meat and consumer satisfaction levels depending upon how it is prepared.

He is also the leader of the quality-based sheep meat value chains program for the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) and he previously led the Beef CRC’s Beef for global consumers program.

The rural press has labeled Professor Pethick as the ‘Layman’s Professor’ for his skill in transforming complicated ideas into plain language that can be understood and utilised by the farming industry.

His work has also been recognised around the world, contributing to 16 book chapters, 193 referred papers in international journals and the development of three patents.

Fellowships of the NSA are awarded to members who have made contributions of special merit to the scientific study of nutrition and/or its applications to people and animals.

Print This Post Print This Post

Leave a comment

You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published.

Thanks for commenting!