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Optimizing diets to reduce the environmental impacts of swine production systems




3: Materials Science and Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Randolph Kirchain

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Jasmina Burek: jburek@mit.edu

Project Description

In recent years, the inclusion of environmental performance in formulating poultry, dairy, and beef rations has been investigated but there is currently no research on modeling cost-effective and environmentally sustainable swine rations in the United States using the multi-criteria optimization. The primary purpose of this proposed research is to enable swine feed producers and processors to begin including the consideration of environmental impact in animal ration formulation by providing a scientific model that will formulate nutritionally balanced, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly rations. Intendent Learning Outcomes: - Learn the basic steps and processes of the life cycle assessment, which will enable students to plan, conduct, and evaluate a moderately complex life cycle assessment under supervision. - Create a comprehensive database of animal feed ingredients including cost and climate change impact, water and land impact. - Develop an algorithm that will be able to formulate nutritionally balanced, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly swine rations without a loss of productivity - Integrate alternative rations with the Pig Production Environmental Calculator, which includes swine growth model, infrastructure, manure management, dead animal disposal, and farm operation costs - To become reflective users of a variety of tools and data resources relevant to the field, which will help them prepare them beyond this opportunity for the Life Cycle Assessment Certified Professional (LCACP) exam. - Present their research at a conference


Interest in agricultural sustainability. Interest in Matlab coding.