Supplementing broiler diets with biodiesel by-products
Glycerine, a by-product of biodiesel production, can be used as
a dietary supplement for broiler chickens, according to research by
University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture poultry
Finding new uses for glycerine will become important as biodiesel production
increases, said Park Waldroup, poultry nutritionist at the U of A Centre of
Excellence for Poultry Science.
"354 million gallons of biodiesel is produced annually in the US, and
additional plants under construction that will nearly double production
capacity," Waldroup said. "Glycerine, a carbohydrate molecule that makes up
10 to 12 percent of a typical fat, is a by-product of the manufacture of
biodiesel from fats and oils."
Biodiesel production will soon overwhelm traditional uses for glycerine in
cosmetics and other products, so Waldroup and his research group are exploring
the value of glycerine as an energy source in broiler diets.
"Glycerine is a pure calorie source that can provide energy to a body for
maintenance and growth," Waldroup said.
A short-term preliminary study showed that chicks up to 16 days of age that
could be fed up to 10 percent glycerine without impairing performance. This was
followed by a full-term feeding study with chicks grown to market age to
evaluate the effects not only on live performance but also on meat quality.
"Diets with 5 percent glycerine supported good performance, but when 10
percent was added the flow rate of the feed was slightly reduced, hampering feed
intake," Waldroup said. "Neither level of glycerine had any adverse effects on
Waldroup said additional research is needed to evaluate quality issues
associated with glycerine use and the effects on feed texture and pellet
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