Retired members of BSAS don’t just fade away, they write books!

19 May 2022

This spring will see the launch of an updated edition of ‘Mineral Nutrition of Livestock (CABI), authored by retired BSAS member, Neville Suttle, now 83. Neville had a long and impressive career in the world of animal science, after completing a PhD at Rowett Research Institute, on copper poisoning in pigs in 1964, having studied Agriculture at Reading Uni. His whole scientific career was spent in Biochemistry and Parasitology Departments at Moredun Research Institute, Edinburgh, where he quickly established an international reputation, by unravelling the complex nutritional interaction between copper, molybdenum and sulphur, responsible for endemic copper-responsive disorders in sheep and cattle on every continent.

The decision to produce a fifth edition of ‘Mineral Nutrition of Livestock’ was inspired by recent errors rather than ‘light-bulb’ developments: a plethora of commercially-driven papers that overstated the merits of so-called ‘organic’ mineral supplements; ‘copycat’ attempts to define net mineral requirements by an unproven comparative slaughter method; unnecessarily complex methods used to improve phosphorous utilisation by pigs and poultry and reduce environmental pollution. There was a need to get back to basics, before mineral nutrition was taken up on many blind alleys. There was also scope for fresh thinking on calcium and copper metabolism that led to new names being proposed for disorders, old and new: Sub-acute Clinical Hypocalcaemia and Pre-Haemolytic Copper Poisoning.

The previous edition had drawn particular praise from lecturers in animal nutrition, veterinary medicine and animal science for covering a vast field in well-illustrated, readable style. The new edition builds on that solid base and should steer researchers, away from potential pitfalls, such as needlessly and erroneously estimating needs for specific breeds and misinterpreting genomic markers of mineral requirements and bioavailability. Informed producers will be armed against the salesman’s pitch for dubious supplements. The book is also a useful reference point for veterinary practitioners and those concerned with human nutrition and environmental protection. The introduction of molecular and genomic techniques to study how animals responded to fluctuating dietary supplies of minerals brought a risk that sole editorship would lag behind the ‘curve’ of knowledge but has hopefully been averted with help from peer reviewers of many chapters. 

Neville joined BSAS as a student and in 1975 was awarded a BSAS Travel Scholarship to visit research centres in New Zealand, having been invited to lecture in neighbouring Australia. Mineral deficiencies were far more prevalent in the Antipodes than in the UK and to be welcomed and listened to respectfully and gratefully, was an unforgettable experience: they invited him back to Australia too – twice! Neville’s BSAS membership has helped him keep informed of wider developments in animal production and science, as well as a number of opportunities to catch up with like-minded friends and colleagues at the annual conferences.

The journal’s author CABI has kindly offered BSAS members a 25% discount off individual orders of the print book, which can be accessed when you login to the BSAS Member’s Area.

This offer is available for orders placed on the CABI Bookshop only: Mineral Nutrition of Livestock - CABI.org