Biofuel byproducts useful as animal-food supplement: A.R.S.

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON — Environmentally and economically sound uses for the byproducts of biofuel production have been discovered by Agricultural Research Service scientists, relays the April 2009 issue of Agricultural Research magazine. A.R.S. is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

William Dozier, an animal scientist formerly with the A.R.S. Poultry Research Unit at Mississippi State, Miss., has been working with colleagues at the A.R.S. Swine Odor and Manure Management Research Unit and Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, to find ways to supplement animal diets with glycerin — a biofuel byproduct that contains energy-providing nutrients for animals.

The use of glycerin supplements in poultry feed was evaluated. Mr. Dozier primarily dealt with broilers and gave glycerin-supplemented poultry feed to broilers that ranged in age from seven to 45 days old. Mr. Dozier evaluated the apparent metabolizable energy (A.M.E.) intake — a standard measure of energy — for the study group and for a control group that ate a standard diet. The group of broilers, aged 21 to 24 days old that consumed glycerin feed supplements, showed their feed intake and the amount of energy provided by the diet intake (gross energy) increased when glycerin supplementation increased. The oldest broilers, aged 42 to 45 days old, showed increases in feed consumption, gross energy and A.M.E.

From a nutritional standpoint, this technology can serve as an alternative dietary energy source that could result in lower feed costs, Mr. Dozier said. As a result, supplementing livestock feed with glycerin may become of great interest to swine and poultry producers, he predicted.

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