In memoriam: Swine nutritionist Donald Mahan

Donald Mahan, professor emeritus from the Ohio State University and researcher, teacher and swine nutritionist, has passed away.

Donald C. Mahan, who in July received the New Frontiers in Animal Nutrition Award from the American Feed Industry Association and the Federation of Animal Science Societies, has passed away at the age of 78.

Mahan, professor emeritus from the Ohio State University, was a researcher, teacher and renowned swine nutritionist who impacted the swine and feed industries in diverse areas during his career. Although well known nationally and internationally for his selenium and vitamin E research, he was also recognized for his research in other areas. His multi-parity sow research studies demonstrated the requirement for calcium and phosphorous, and that organic selenium resulted in more and healthier pigs, less sow parturition problems, and greater milk selenium for multiple parities. He identified the need for vitamin C, high-quality dried whey, lactose and chloride for the early weaned pig. His research was the basis for the Food and Drug Administration’s approval for both organic and inorganic selenium. Body composition research studies with sows and growing-finishing pigs helped to establish the mineral needs of swine.

In addition to the recent New Frontiers award, Mahan also received several American Society of Animal Science awards during his career, including the AFIA Nutrition Research Award, Gustav Bohstedt Award for Mineral Research, and an ASAS Fellow Award in Research. He mentored many graduate students at The Ohio State University, and authored or co-authored more than 175 refereed journal articles and over 400 other publications. He was an invited speaker at 213 conferences in several states and 50 countries.

Mahan was one of the organizers of the Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference and served on the planning committee for its entirety. He made presentations at this conference numerous times during the past 16 years. His last presentation was in 2014.

He obtained his bachelor of science degree in Animal Science from Purdue University before working as a County Youth Agent in Sullivan, Ind., where he met and married Amy Jo Osburn before returning to Purdue for graduate study. After completing his masters of science degree at Purdue and his Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition at the University of Illinois, he began his professional career as an assistant professor at The Ohio State University in 1969.

Mahan is survived by his wife, Amy Jo, three daughters (Melanie, Jean, and Laurie), 10 grandchildren, and his brother, Gene.

Click here for Mahan’s full obituary.

TAGS: Nutrition
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