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Aug 26, 2006

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Chicken feed: UA researcher seeks uses for biodiesel by-product

Nichelle Sullivan

Issue date: 8/25/06 Section: News
  • Page 1 of 1
A UA researcher is looking for funding to develop glycerin, a byproduct of biodiesel, for use in animal feed.

Park Waldroup, a UA poultry science professor, is working on research concerning the purification and development of glycerin for use in feed for poultry and swine.

However, funding is limited for research in this developing field, Waldroup said.

With the commercial development of biodiesel, a non-toxic and clean burning diesel fuel, a substantial amount - 10 to 12 percent - of the byproduct of the process is composed of glycerin, he said.

Waldroup is interested in putting that byproduct to use, he said.

Glycerin is commonly known as a slightly sweet- tasting carbohydrate that is often used in toothpaste, lotions and soaps because of its moisturizing capabilities, Waldroup said.

Glycerin is also a pure carbohydrate that could be potentially used as an energy source for chicken feed, Waldroup said.

Waldroup conducted a study to research the feasibility of using glycerin as an energy source for chickens, the results of which were published in the July 17 issue of "Feedstuffs," a weekly trade magazine for the feed industry,

The results of the study showed that while glycerin can be used as a source of energy for chicken diets, further studies are needed to determine the percentage and appropriate quality of glycerin that can be added to animal feed.

Waldroup wants to explore and research those questions in depth but research money in the biodiesel industry is hard to come by, he said.

"The biggest obstacle is funding," Waldroup said. "The biodiesel industry is small, segmented and does not have the same research resources that the petroleum industry possesses."

Many biodiesel companies are interested in the development of glycerin feed mixture because of the potential market it could open up as an economic alternative to using corn feed, he said.

However, many of these fledgling biodiesel companies are unable to put fund the necessary research, Waldroup said.

Biodiesel companies are willing to donate the excess glycerin for research, but Waldroup needs funding to pay for the feed, the chickens as well as pay graduate students helping with the research, he said.

Professor Waldroup's research interests are in alternative ingredients.
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Posted: Saturday August 26, 2006, 8:39 am
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