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The importance of your laboratory animal diet

When working with laboratory animals, diet is a critical research tool. However, it is often overlooked in experimental investigations, potentially impacting study outcomes and reproducibility.

When you are planning your study, give yourself some time to select the appropriate animal diet, and consider choosing a vendor that prioritizes quality and consistency. Your choices range from standard, widely used diets to fully customized diets where key nutrients are individually selected, and understanding the differences between your options is the first step towards appropriately feeding your animals and setting up your experiments for success.

MP Bio animal diets and dietary components are of the finest quality and the most uniform of commercially available diets. We operate under certified quality systems, with production sites regulated under ISO9001:2015 standards, and all our animal diets are freshly formulated upon placing your order.

Standard laboratory animal diets

Standard diets are widely used to support studies that do not require specific nutrient variations and are formulated to be suitable for a broad range of research areas to help promote reproduction, growth, and maintenance of laboratory animals.

Examples of a standard laboratory animal diet



AIN-76 Semipurified Diet

American Institute of Nutrition standard formulation for rats and mice for effective growth, appearance and survival.

AIN-93G Diet

An updated formulation of AIN-76 Diet designed for growth, pregnancy and lactational phases of rodents.

AIN-93M Diet

An updated formulation of AIN-76 Diet designed for maintenance of adult rodents.

Mouse Diet, Purified

A natural-ingredient diet specifically formulated to provide the proper balance of all known nutrients considered essential for the growth, maintenance and reproduction of mice for lab experiments.

Vanderzant-Adkisson Special Wheat Germ Diet for Insects

Widely used for laboratory rearing of more than 20 species of insects.

For sixteen years, the American Institute of Nutrition Rodent Diets, AIN-76 and AIN-76A, have been used extensively around the world. Because of numerous nutritional and technical problems encountered with the diet during this period, it was revised, resulting in two new formulations: AIN-93G for growth, pregnancy, and lactation; and AIN-93M for adult maintenance.

Here are some of the major differences in the new formulation of AIN-93G compared with AIN-76A

  • 7 grams soybean oil/100 grams diet was substituted for 5 grams corn oil/100 grams diet to increase the amount of linolenic acid.
  • Corn-starch was substituted for sucrose.
  • The amount of phosphorus was reduced to help eliminate the problem of kidney calcification in female rats.
  • L-cystine was substituted for DL-methionine as the amino acid supplement for casein, known to be deficient in the sulfur amino acids.
  • Manganese concentration was lowered to one fifth the amount in the old diet.
  • The amounts of Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B12 were increased.
  • Molybdenum, silicon, fluoride, nickel, boron, lithium, and vanadium were added to the mineral mix.

For the AIN-93M maintenance diet, the amount of fat was lowered to 40 g/kg diet from 70 g/kg diet, and the amount of casein to 140 g/kg from 200 g/kg in the AIN-93G diet.

Custom laboratory animal diets

Whether increasing nutrient levels, exploring the impact of a specific vitamin, or inducing obesity or other diseases, custom diets can help. Custom lab animal diets are formulated to be tailored to your research area, your specific research question, and purification (or other manufacturing) requirements—the possibilities are endless. This level of control allows for more uniformity, reproducibility, as well as more flexibility in nutrition studies.

If you are investigating obesity and cholesterol, you may want to use a diet with a specific fat or carbohydrate content. For liver injury research, you may want to adjust the level of choline or methionine in the animal diet. To get the diet you need, you could formulate and mix it yourself by purchasing each diet component individually. To simplify the preparation of your custom blend, consider using ready-to-use mineral and vitamin mixes, such as MP Bio’s AIN-93-Vx Vitamin Mixture or working with our team of experts to formulate and prepare the blend to your exact specifications.

MP Bio has over five decades of experience in customized animal research diets and more than 15,000 successful custom formulations.

Consider MP Bio for a high-quality laboratory animal diet

With diets having so many variables, such as ingredients, nutrients, non-nutrients, formulations, purification, and manufacturing strategies, it is important to use a vendor you can trust to deliver consistent, high-quality feed and mixes. To generate the ideal research model, help make sense of your data and compare results between studies, consider what your feed is composed of, how fresh it is, and how uniform it is between batches.

Take a fresh look at MP Bio’s prepared animal research diets and you’ll discover an entirely new standard in quality, freshness, value, and customization. Whether you’re studying obesity, type II diabetes, a vitamin or mineral deficiency, insect breeding or memory loss based on diet, MP Bio offers you a new perspective for your animal dietary needs.