Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Research Reality....for today

What is neat about this blog is that all of our followers can see first hand all the great research we are working on at Purina. But my day today didn't really involve exciting hands on work. It instead involved reading literature about digestibility of feedstuffs in horses. This picture on the left shows a small portion of some of the heavy reading I did. Digestibility in horses can be a tricky thing. We have done some very extensive and detailed trials at Purina measuring exactly what is going in and what is going out of our research horses on a daily basis. We collect manure and urine in special collection harnesses and we measure feed intake to a 10th of a pound. But when those animal studies are over, we move onto the analysis phase where we organize and interpret all the data, run statistics on the numbers to look for differences and overall, see if our results match our research hypothesis. Right now, we are analyzing data from a very large digestibility trial that had multiple collection phases and has taken almost 2 years to complete. We will spend the next few months analyzing the thousands of data points we collected. It may not be exciting to many people, but I really enjoy this part of the process. I like analyzing the numbers and really seeing if something works. How did the test product really perform? Are the differences between treatment and control diets significant? What does it mean physiologically to the horse? These are all questions we work to answer everyday. And although it involves just working in front of my computer and reading all day, its fun nonetheless.

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