Fermentation technology in animal nutrition

Animal Nutrition Views

Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.

Fermentation is indeed a very old technology in human nutrition. For animals, fermentation has almost always been involved within the context of producing components for human consumption leaving valuable byproducts for animal feeding. An early such example is that of brewer’s yeast, whereas dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS), from bioethanol production, is among the latest.

But, what about fermentation where the main goal is producing valuable ingredients for animals? We do have a couple of notable examples here, again from the realm of yeasts, but this verges to the area of additives, whereas our discussion focuses on main feed ingredients. Indeed, the latter is becoming a trend that is catching up speed. Fermented soybean meal is perhaps a good example to mention, and although the technology is still new and requires more documentation, it serves as an example of what can be done with fermentation.

In several European countries there is an initiative of converting waste from agro-industrial sources into valuable raw materials for animal feeding through the means of controlled fermentation. Although it is rather early to conclude, it will revolutionize the way we feed animals; it merits our attention as it involves terms such as sustainability and waste management.

In closing, I have to confess most professionals involved in animal nutrition (including myself) have only a very vague idea on anything that has to do with fermentation as a procedure — the ingredients, the steps, the process, the machinery, etc. To this end, I make here an open invitation to the experts to submit an article to explain to all of us how this technology works. You can contact me at [email protected].