News 3681 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Algae product promising for dairy cattle feed

Melbourne (Florida, USA) based PetroAlgae, a renewable energy company said a third party study was completed showing that its micro-crop meal performs as well as alfalfa in dairy cattle diets.

PetroAlgae's micro-crop technology employs indigenous, aquatic micro-organisms suitable to local climates and is designed to enable its technology licensees to produce a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels, a high-value protein co-product, and a new micro-crop meal for animal feed (which was the subject of the study), while absorbing carbon dioxide from greenhouse gas emissions.
The global market for dairy feed from alfalfa alone is estimated at 400 million tonnes by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization.
PetroAlgae micro-crop meal is expected to be highly competitive with alfalfa and other ingredients based on its positive impact on meat and milk, continuous production, and supply chain advantages, thereby opening a new market for the company and its licensing partners.
Feeding trial
The study encompassed a continuous 6-week feeding trial of a statistically significant sample of 36 dairy cows in the barns at the University of Minnesota.
It measured PetroAlgae micro-crop meal against 17.5% protein alfalfa diets for nutrient intake, milk yield and composition, showing that PetroAlgae micro-crop meal represents a new source of commercial-scale dairy feed.
Among the findings:
  • PetroAlgae micro-crop meal had higher dairy efficiency values;
  • Unit for unit, PetroAlgae micro-crop meal had higher energy values than alfalfa;
  • The gross production of both milk and milk normalized for fat and protein were similar between the group fed alfalfa and the group fed PetroAlgae micro-crop meal;
  • The PetroAlgae micro-crop meal diet matched the alfalfa diet in days in milk, milk yield, body score and body weight.
Influence milk quality
"We are encouraged to see this product perform so well against one of the more universally understood products in dairy nutrition,” said Dr. Noah Litherland, who performed the study at the University of Minnesota.
“Furthermore, as nutritional understanding grows, there are some simple steps that can be taken to optimize the product further and increase its value. There is also an intriguing opportunity to alter the lipid composition of the meat and milk for added human health benefit," said Dr. Litherland.
The local deployment advantages of PetroAlgae's technology and the continuous nature of its production process, create supply chain advantages for the faster-growing dairy markets in Asia and the Middle East, all of which have a growing dependence on imports.
Micro-crop farms utilizing PetroAlgae's technology grow new sources of protein, feed, and fuel feedstocks locally that are not genetically modified and are resistant to local diseases.
PetroAlgae’s technology enables the growing and harvesting of a wide variety of non-algae, aquatic micro-crops suitable to local climates in open-pond bioreactors.

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