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Nutritional Evaluation of NASA's Rodent Food Bar DietTests are being conducted on NASA's rodent Food Bar in preparation for long-term use as the rat and mouse diet aboard the International Space Station. Nutritional analyses are performed after the bars are manufactured and then repeated periodically to determine nutritional stability. The primary factors analyzed are protein, ash, fat, fiber, moisture, amino acids, fatty acids, and minerals. Nutrient levels are compared to values published in the National Research Council's dietary requirements for rodents, and also to those contained in several commonly used commercial rodent lab diets. The Food Bar is manufactured from a powdered diet to which moisture is added as it is processed through an extruder. The bars are dipped into potassium sorbate, vacuum-sealed, and irradiated. In order to determine nutrient changes during extrusion and irradiation, the powdered diet, the non-irradiated bars, and the irradiated bars are all analyzed. We have observed lower values for some nutrients (iodine, vitamin K, and iron) in the Food Bars compared with NRC requirements. Many nutrients in the Food Bars are contained at a higher level than levels in the NRC requirements. An additional factor we are investigating is the 26% moisture level in the Food Bars, which drops to about 15% within a week, compared to a stable 10% moisture in many standard lab chow diets. In addition to the nutritional analyses, the food bar is being fed to several strains of rats and mice, and feeding study and necropsy results are being observed (Barrett et al, unpublished data). Information from the nutritional analyses and from the rodent studies will enable us to recommend the formulation that will most adequately meet the rodent Food Bar requirements for long-term use aboard the Space Station.
Document ID
Document Type
Barrett, Joyce E. (Lockheed Martin Corp. Moffett Field, CA United States)
Yu, Diane S. (Lockheed Martin Corp. Moffett Field, CA United States)
Dalton, Bonnie P. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2000
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 393-25-00
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.