Glycerin Offers Potential as Low-Cost Energy Source

CANADA - A researcher with Amlan International reports a byproduct of biodiesel production offers potential as a low cost energy source in swine rations, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 9 February 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Glycerin, a byproduct of the biodiesel industry, is currently registered for use in Canada as a feed ingredient in beef cattle diets but it's not registered for use in swine rations.

Dr LeAnn Johnston, the technical services manager with Amlan International, told those on hand last week for the 25th Manitoba Swine Seminar several research studies have shown the inclusion of glycerin in swine rations has no negative effects on either the production performance of swine or on the quality of the pork produced.

Dr LeAnn Johnston-Amlan International

For every litre of biodiesel that's produced 79 grams of crude glycerin is also produced so, as biodiesel becomes more and more important and increases in production, we'll see more and more crude glycerin become available to livestock production.

The key components are crude glycerin, methanol, fatty acids, water and sodium and chloride.

The role that it could play would be to be an energy source in swine diets or beef diets or diets for other livestock.

All livestock can be affected by the level of methanol in the diet.

It can be toxic at very low levels so that's the one thing that we're most concerned about.

The other thing would be that we want to be sure we're using the correct energy values for crude glycerin.

It has a fairly high degree of variability and then also, because it is high in sodium and chloride, your diets need to be adjusted and salt needs to be decreased.

Dr Johnston says as the availability of glycerin increases costs should go down.

She estimates, at 75 per cent of the cost of the feed grain being replaced in the ration, glycerin should be economically viable.

However she stresses, although glycerin is approved for use in beef cattle feeds it's not yet approved for use in swine rations.

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