Experts researching biofuels believe that yeasty by-products being produced could be converted into a source of feed for chickens.
Based upon an innovative idea first conceived by Dr Pete Williams of AB Agri, collaborators from Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and AB Agri have shown that yeast protein concentrate (YPC) can be separated from the fibrous cereal matter and converetd into edible chicken feed.
This project shows the fuel itself is only half the story
Dr Emily Burton, NTU
The researchers have also shown that YPC may be a cost-competitive substitute for imported soya-based and similar high-value protein feeds currently used in the diets of chickens bred for meat production.
Funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) meant that researchers could examine the composition of the newly isolated, YPC in a series of experiments, showing that it can be readily digested by chickens.
Dr Emily Burton of NTU said: “Bioethanol is already a 60-billion-litre per year global market but this project shows the fuel itself is only half the story - immense value lies within other co-product streams too. As well as the proteins, the yeast content provides important vitamins and other micronutrients.”
This innovative process separates dried distiller’s grains with solubles (DDGS) into three fractions - fibre, a watery syrup and YPC, allowing global production of almost 3 million tonnes of supplementary high-quality protein per annum alongside current levels of bioethanol produced.
A project at a US bioethanol facility is now up and running, demonstrating the performance of the process at factory scale.