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Cold Processing Method to Produce Nutritious Animal Feed Pellets by Extrusion

Researchers have developed a cold pelleting technology for animal feed processing using extrusion. The process allows for the mixing of a binding agent with a feed meal at a temperature of about 10 degrees Celsius to 70 degrees Celsius to produce a mash, passing the mash through an extruder to produce animal feed, and then drying the animal feed. This cold pelleting process involves the use of binders and as a result, starch in raw materials is not gelatinized and the animal feed has improved nutritional quality.

This process preserves the nutritional value of starch in animal feed. To the best of our knowledge, currently many animal feeds are processed by heat extrusion cooking technology. During thermal processing, starch becomes gelatinized, protein is denatured, and many other important nutritional ingredients, such as fat, fibers and vitamins, are thermally degraded. The denatured protein or gelatinized starch then acts as a binder to hold ingredients together to form durable feed pellets.

Contrary to the above, KSU’s cold processing technology makes pellets at low or room temperature to keep the starch ungelatinized and preserve its nutritional value. It achieves this by utilizing edible binders with desirable bonding properties. Using this process, animal feed pellets containing cereal and/or animal protein or by-products base can be developed. In addition, the water activity of the cold extruded animal feed can be controlled to an extent. Moreover, the durability, hardness and density of pellets can be modified by the type of binder, inclusion level and moisture content.

The technology is specially designed for pet food, and also has potential applications wherever ungelatinized starch animal feed is needed.

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Kansas State University

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