Research Group Moving Forward

By Tina Caparella

For 50 years, the Fats and Proteins Research Foundation (FPRF) has been meeting the research needs of the North American rendering industry, whether it’s searching out new markets for proteins and fats or verifying the rendering process to ensure compliance with government regulations. As the group met in October for its annual meeting, future demands were examined along with the challenge of continuing to raise much-needed funds.

Foundation Chairman Carl Wintzer, G.A. Wintzer and Sons, noted that it has been of great benefit having Jessica Meisinger, director of education and communications, National Renderers Association (NRA), help review current and past research reports. NRA President Tom Cook added that the management of FPRF by NRA is working very well as all staff is located in one office, and Dr. David Meeker, FPRF director of research, is completely sold on the Animal Co-Products Research and Education Center (ACREC) at Clemson University.

“We are really starting to realize why the center was established in the first place,” he commented. “Everything funded currently fits the priorities established.” Meeker went on to state that looming Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations has the rendering industry nervous, but process verification research currently being studied at ACREC will help meet those regulations.

FPRF Treasurer Erika Weltzien, Rothsay, reported that the foundation is providing more communication outreach, such as a layman’s summary of current and past projects and a one-page summary of all projects; a report of research expenditures by research and development category; and an increased profile of the foundation to draw the best researchers possible.

Two at-large (outside of ACREC) research projects were approved by the FPRF Board of Directors: (1) Using essential fatty acid requirements of fishes in the context of rendered fat-based aquafeeds by J.T. Trushenski ($69,931); and (2) Evaluation of techniques used to extend shelf-life and methods for analysis of rendered protein meals in pet foods by G. Aldrich ($45,000). Both projects are slated for one year.

Several ACREC researchers provided updates on their projects, beginning with Andrew Hurley who has created a biodegradable liner for raw material collection containers made from cornstarch that could be a solution for the polyethylene problem often experienced by renderers. About 2,500 liners are currently in final industry-scale testing with much success so far. Hurley revealed the liners don’t stretch, but instead break when they go through the auger.

Dr. Charles Gooding reported on potential high value products from tallow he assigned his students to research. One student developed a biodegradable lubricant that would fit well into the 40 million metric ton global market. Gooding emphasized that biobased lubricants from vegetable oils are gaining market share as cost-effectiveness and biodegradability boost demand. He then thanked FPRF for the funding to provide real-world challenges to over 150 Clemson undergraduate students.

At the conclusion of the meeting, new FPRF officers were voted in for the next two years. Elected chairman was David Kirstein, Darling International, Inc. while Weltzien moved into the vice chairman position. Duane Anderson, Farmers Union Industries, was selected as treasurer.

Following the annual meeting was the emerging issues seminar that began with Dr. Donald Palmquist, Ohio State University, scientifically reviewing oxidative rancidity of rendered fats and the impacts on animal health, nutrition, and performance. Ben Bowen, Kemin Industries, discussed what the industry has learned from thousands of peroxide value tests on rendered products, and Greg Aldrich, Kansas State University, offered ways to smooth the interface between renderers and pet food customers.

December 2012 RENDER | back