In separate feeding trials, nursery pigs and chickens have eaten high-protein fungi that Hans van Leeuwen and other Iowa State University researchers have produced in a pilot plant that converts ethanol leftovers into food-grade fungi. The production process also cleans some of the water used to produce ethanol, boosting the amount of water that can be recycled back into biofuel production and saving energy on water cleanup and co-product recovery.
So far in the feeding trials, researchers have found pig performance wasn’t impacted when dried fungi were substituted for corn or soybean meal, said Nicholas Gabler, an assistant professor of animal science. Researchers are still studying the effects of the feed on amino acid availability, tissue growth, and intestinal health.
The fungi produce a high-energy feed for chickens, said Mike Persia, an assistant professor of animal science. He said more studies need to be done, “but generally I think there’s some value there.”
The fungi-production process was developed by a research team led by van Leeuwen, a professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering. The process has two patents pending and has won several major awards – most recently it was named the global grand winner of the International Water Association’s 2012 Project Innovation Awards in Applied Research.
“It’s a great feeling,” van Leeuwen said of the latest award. “The International Water Association is the top water quality organization in the world. We were up against multi-million dollar projects and we’ve been working on a shoestring. To get this is as gratifying as winning an Olympic medal.”
Van Leeuwen, who was named R&D Magazine’s 2009 Innovator of the Year, and the research team have been working on their “MycoMeal” process for several years. It began as an idea to improve the dry-grind process used to produce ethanol from corn.
Here’s how the process works:
For every gallon of ethanol produced, there are about five gallons of leftovers known as stillage. The stillage contains solids and other organic material. Most of the solids are removed by centrifugation and dried into distillers dried grains that are sold as livestock feed, primarily for cattle.
The remaining liquid, known as thin stillage, still contains some solids, a variety of organic compounds and enzymes. Because the compounds and solids can interfere with ethanol production, only about 50 percent of thin stillage can be recycled back into biofuel production. The rest is evaporated and blended with distillers dried grains.
The Iowa State researchers add fungus (Rhizopus microsporus) to the thin stillage and it feeds and grows into easily harvested pellets in less than a day – van Leeuwen calls it "lightning-speed farming." The fungus removes about 60 percent of the organic material and most of the solids, allowing the water and enzymes in the thin stillage to be recycled back into production.The fungus is then harvested and dried as animal feed that's rich in protein, certain essential amino acids, polyunsaturated oils and other nutrients. It can be blended with distillers dried grains to boost its value as a livestock feed and make it more suitable for feeding hogs and chickens. And van Leeuwen hopes the fungal product could one day be a low-cost nutritional supplement for people.
There has been some commercial interest in the process, van Leeuwen said.
The project has been supported by a three-year, $450,000 grant from the Iowa Energy Center and a Smithfield grant from the Office of the Iowa Attorney General. Lincolnway Energy of Nevada; Cellencor Inc. of the Iowa State University Research Park; and Iowa State's Center for Crops Utilization Research and BioCentury Research Farm are also supporting the project.
In addition to van Leeuwen, Gabler and Persia, the project’s research team includes Mary Rasmussen, a former post-doctoral research associate; Duygu Ozsoy, a current post-doctoral research associate in civil, construction and environmental engineering; Daniel Erickson and Christopher Koza, graduate students in civil, construction and environmental engineering; students Alexandra Bruns, Scott Karagiorgas, Weston Kleinert, Jessica Maciel and Shashank Ravi; and Debjani Mitra, a doctoral graduate of Iowa State, now a post-doctoral fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.
With this summer’s drought and concerns about high prices for corn, van Leeuwen said there could be new interest in transferring the technology to the ethanol industry.
“It’s now more important,” van Leeuwen said, “to have better co-products of ethanol production.”Contacts:
Hans van Leeuwen | Newswise Science News
Further reports about: > Animal > Chickens > Ethanol > High-Protein > Innovation Award > Nevada > Water Snake > amino acid > animal science > biofuel production > doctoral research > environmental engineer > environmental engineering > ethanol production > food-grade fungi > fuel production > fungus > organic material > pig performance > pigs > production process
Scientists create biodegradable, paper-based biobatteries
08.08.2018 | Binghamton University
Ricocheting radio waves monitor the tiniest movements in a room
07.08.2018 | Duke University
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
16.08.2018 | Life Sciences
16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.08.2018 | Life Sciences