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Technoscience

Glycerin in animal feed

Miguel Boyayan

The by-product of biodiesel production may be used to feed lambs and bovinesMiguel Boyayan

According to two Brazilian university studies, glycerin, a by-product of biodiesel production, may be used as a feed additive for bovines and lambs.  For every liter of biofuel produced, the equivalent of about 10% is left over as glycerin.  In 2011, 2.6 billion liters were produced and production is expected to increase over the next few years; yet no use for that much glycerin has been identified.  Thus, the first study conducted at the Federal University of Santa Maria  (UFSM) in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul showed that lambs are able to consume up to 30% glycerin as a replacement for corn without any loss in terms of weight or expected development.  The experiment, led by Professors Cleber Pires and Luís Fernando Pelegrini, was carried out on 32 lambs.  The other study was conducted at the Federal University of Tocantins (UFT) on 12 milk cows and 12 bullocks.  For a period of 84 days, the animals consumed feed that contained up to 24% glycerin, twice the amount now approved by the Ministry of Agriculture.  They were then slaughtered at a commercial slaughterhouse where parts of the animals, like the brain, liver and intestines, were analyzed and shown to present no toxicity or other injury.  In addition, the glycerin did not alter the animals’ weight.  Professors Sandro Moron and João Restle of UFT led the experiments.

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