Research Group Prepares for the Future

By Tina Caparella

Research is imperative for any industry, and renderers know this all too well as they’ve supported the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation (FPRF) since 1963. But research doesn’t come cheap and as FPRF members discovered at the foundation’s membership and board of directors meetings in late October in Laguna Niguel, CA, their financial support will be even more imperative in the future.

FPRF Chairman Kevin Kuhni, John Kuhni and Sons, remarked that the foundation has had a good year but the membership will need to boost their contributions in 2009 to help meet future research goals. FPRF President Sergio Nates reported that $730,000 has been pledged for 2009, but his goal is to reach $1 million in five years by way of increased voluntary contributions by existing members and encouragement of more foreign members, most of whom are clients of renderers. The board chose to allow non-members access to FPRF’s database for a one-time $500 fee in an effort to encourage membership once a viewer sees the value of the information. Members receive access to completed research projects and FPRF’s searchable database on its Web site.

Dr. Annel Greene, director of the Animal Co-Products Research and Education Center (ACREC) at Clemson University, said research is maturing at Clemson, with the top priority being finding new uses for animal proteins by developing a creative inquiry team with Clemson students to focus on this goal. With its contract with Clemson up for renewal in June 2009, FPRF directors decided to extend the agreement for one year and encouraged Clemson to work more diligently at obtaining outside research grants as was initially agreed upon.

J.J. Smith, Valley Proteins, encouraged everyone to attend the FPRF and National Renderers Association spring meetings April 21-24, 2009, at Clemson University in Clemson, SC.

“Learn for yourself what’s going on down there and meet the researchers who are working on behalf of the industry,” he commented. Smith then thanked Kuhni for his dedication to the foundation over the past two years before assuming the position of chairman himself. Other new officers for the next two years are Carl Wintzer, G.A. Wintzer and Son, vice chairman; and David Kirstein, Darling International, secretary/treasurer.

FPRF also held their popular Emerging Issues and Opportunities Seminar, beginning with Dr. Charles Gooding, Clemson University, speaking on ACREC’s project of quantifying the carbon footprint of rendering operations. He explained that a carbon footprint is a measure of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from an activity, but there is no “official” definition, just many questions such as which gases to include, whether credits are allowed for removing or avoiding emissions that would have otherwise occurred, and to what should the emissions be compared. Gooding demonstrated a draft carbon footprint calculator for rendering operations and asked for renderer input to the research to ensure the most accurate outcome.

Dr. Dominique Bureau, University of Guelph, revealed that the expected growth in aquaculture is nine percent per year over the next decade, especially among marine species and omnivorous species. He said that ingredient composition for fish feeds is becoming more variable and complex. Previously, feed only contained fish oil, fish meal, wheat, vitamins, and minerals. Now, feed can contain a wide variety of vegetable and animal protein meals, with more emphasis now being placed on fats and digestible proteins, such as blood meal, poultry by-product meal, and feather meal.

Bureau said new research shows that poultry by-product meal is 80 to 90 percent digestible in fish, a big improvement from studies done in the 1970s. Meat and bone meal’s digestibility in fish is lower than feather meal but still in the 80 to 85 percent range based on past literature; however, Bureau emphasized that newer research needs to be conducted. As for blood meal, recent studies show that drying equipment has a great impact on digestibility, ranging from 80 to 100 percent, a significant improvement since the 1970s.

The FPRF seminar wrapped up with discussions by Dr. Zhiyou Wen, Virginia Tech, and Dr. Rafael Garcia, U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agriculture Research Service. The technical presentations addressed using waste glycerol from biodiesel production and rendered animal proteins in the production of omega-3 fatty acids by microalgae (Wen), and using in situ transesterification as a method for transforming residual fat in materials such as meat and bone meal into biodiesel (Garcia).

Tech Topics – December 2008 RENDER | back