Pilot Scheme Converts Feathers to Feed

THAILAND - Poultry company, Betagro, is looking into using enzymes to process feather meal into a feed ingredient.
calendar icon 13 July 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Betagro Science Center Co has teamed up with the Agricultural Research Development Agency and Kasetsart University (KU) to develop keratinase enzymes that use chicken feather waste to produce animal feed, according to Bangkok Post.

The development will help the company, a unit of Betagro Group, to utilise its large volume of feather waste effectively and reduce the import of keratinase, a high-protein supplement.

Approximately 6,000 tonnes of feathers are released from chicken slaughterhouses around the country from processing of up to 950 million birds a year.

The group, one of the country's largest chicken producers and exporters, produces about 1,200 tonnes of feather waste each year, said Rutjawate Taharnklaew, the general manager of Betagro Science Center Co.

The group had been spending about 10 million baht (THB) annually to import the enzyme, and demand is growing after the European Union banned the use of antibiotics as a growth promoter in animal feed.

A research team headed by Associate Professor Sunee Nithisinprasert of KU will carry out the project at a pilot plant with a capacity to produce 500 litres of enzymes.

The team including Dr Rutjawate will conduct a feasibility study for commercial production and the possibility of producing the enzymes in liquid or dried form to sustain the quality of the substance.

According to KU research, chicken producers can process feather waste for meal under a heating and steaming method with up to 80 per cent of the protein of soybean and fish meal feed, two more expensive protein sources.

However, this process uses energy and reduces nutrition while producing indigestible feed, adds the Bangkok Post report. The keratinase enzyme helps make the feed more digestible while maintaining a high level of protein.

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