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Nutrient protecting 'peanut brittle' for cattle receives patent

Monday, Dec. 15, 2014

       

 

MANHATTAN — A U.S. patent has been issued for a Kansas State University-developed "peanut brittle" that ensures cows and other livestock eating it get their vitamins.

U.S. Patent No. 8,828,421, "Method for Encapsulation of Orally Ingested Materials to Alter the Site of Digestion, Site of Action, or Stability," was recently issued to the Kansas State University Research Foundation, a nonprofit corporation responsible for managing technology transfer activities at the university.

Jim Drouillard, professor of animal sciences and industry; Tom Herald, food chemist and adjunct professor of grain science and industry; and Matthew Greenquist, former graduate student, developed a candy-like coating that protects vitamins and other micronutrients given to cattle and other ruminant animals from being prematurely digested by bacteria in the animal's digestive system. The coating provides an easy, inexpensive method for delivering undiluted dosages of vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients to livestock.

"In ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep and goats, we often feed rations to the animal with the hope of providing nutrients directly to it, but we always have to contend with the pesky microorganisms in the digestive system," Drouillard said. "Those microorganisms and bacteria also feed on these nutrients as they move through the animal, potentially causing deficiencies of key nutrients for the animal itself. 

Researchers looked at how to create a barrier against the microbial activity in the rumen, the largest chamber of a cow's stomach, which also contains billions of microorganisms.

They developed a relatively simple and inexpensive solution. An isolated corn or wheat protein is solubilized in water or ethanol. The vitamin or other nutrient is then added to the solution. Next, the solution with vitamin is dried into cellophane-like sheets or spray dried into a powder form. 

"It produces something that looks like peanut brittle on a microscopic level," Drouillard said. "You've got the hard candy part and then these little lumps that represent the peanuts inside the candy. In our case, the peanuts are choline or whatever vitamin we've added, and the candy portion is a protective film that forms from the solute."

Researchers found that the protein-based film coatings are effective barriers against premature digestion of nutrients by the gut bacteria. Once the material bypasses the rumen and ends up in the gastric portion of the animal's stomach, strong acids in the stomach dissolve the coating, releasing the nutrient so the animal can absorb it. 

Once dried, the material can be sprinkled onto the feed. 

"It's a very simple, but very elegant method for protecting nutrients," Drouillard said. "It's also a great example of how collaboration across different scientific disciplines can lead to development of unique technological solutions." 

The patent currently is licensed to Afgrifeed, a South African animal feed manufacturing company.

The Kansas State University Research Foundation has been awarded 13 U.S. patents in 2014.

Source

Jim Drouillard
785-532-1204
jdrouill@k-state.edu

Website

Kansas State University Research Foundation

Photos

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Kansas State University-developed "peanut brittle" for cattle

A Kansas State University-developed "peanut brittle" for cattle was recently issued a U.S. patent. A protein-based film coating encapsulates vitamins and other micronutrients in peanut-like bubbles. The coating protects nutrients given to cattle and other ruminant animals from being prematurely digested by bacteria in the animal's digestive system.

Download a high-resolution photo. 
Protein-based film coating encapsulates vitamins and other micronutrients

The coating is dried into cellophane-like sheets or spray dried into a powder form. Once dried, the material can be sprinkled onto the feed for cattle and other ruminant animals.

Written by

Greg Tammen
785-532-4486
gtammen@k-state.edu

At a glance

A U.S. patent has been issued for a Kansas State University-developed "peanut brittle" that ensures cows and other livestock eating it get their vitamins. Researchers developed a candy-like coating that protects vitamins and other micronutrients given to cattle and other ruminant animals from being prematurely digested by bacteria in the animal's digestive system. The coating provides an easy, inexpensive method for delivering undiluted dosages of vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients to livestock.

Notable quote

"It produces something that looks like peanut brittle on a microscopic level. You've got the hard candy part and then these little lumps that represent the peanuts inside the candy. In our case, the peanuts are choline or whatever vitamin we've added and the candy portion is a protective film that forms from the solute." 

Jim Drouillard, professor of animal sciences and industry