Skip to main content

International 3Rs Prize now open for applications. £30k prize (£2k personal award) for outstanding science with demonstrable 3Rs impacts.

NC3Rs | 20 Years: Pioneering Better Science

In vitro digestibility - reducing animal use whilst meeting the demand to evaluate alternative proteins

A collection of test tubes containing coloured liquid

At a glance

In progress
Award date
January 2023 - April 2025
Grant amount
Principal investigator
Professor John Brameld
University of Nottingham


  • Replacement
Read the abstract
View the grant profile on GtR



Why did we fund this project?

This award aims to develop an in vitro model of digestion to test dietary protein quality and replace post-mortem sampling of animals to evaluate new animal feeds.

In line with the global increase in animal agriculture, there is increasing interest in under-utilised crops as high quality and sustainable alternative protein sources for animal feed. However, their digestibility and quality must be evaluated before large scale use. Currently animals are fed a new diet before post-mortem sampling for amino acids in the intestines. The project, led by Professor John Brameld, aims to validate a lab-based model of digestion which will be faster, higher throughput, require less expertise and replace the use of animals. Screening new protein sources in vitro before feeding to animals also reduces the possibility of adverse reactions for live animals. The in vitro digestion technique will be useful for anyone working in the field of new protein sources including animal nutritionists and food and plant scientists in addition to those developing alternative protein sources and agricultural feeds in academia and industry.

This award was made as part of the BBSRC/NC3Rs joint call for the development of next generation non-animal technologies (NATs).