Nutrient protecting 'peanut brittle' for cattle receives patent

December 15, 2014, Kansas State University

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 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."

Explore further: Patent issued for beneficial animal 'candy'

Related Stories

Patent issued for beneficial animal 'candy'

June 6, 2013

A U.S. patent has been granted to a Kansas State University-developed "candy" that stimulates the growth, health and reproductive functions of cattle, bulls and other livestock.

Using wheat as an energy source for beef cattle

November 6, 2014

Wheat, along with corn and barley, is one of the three major feed grains used in North America. Most of the feed-class wheat is fed to poultry and swine. Beef producers are reluctant to use large quantities of wheat in diets ...

Distillers grains with calcium oxide improve cattle diets

November 4, 2014

Research by Purdue University scientist Jon Schoonmaker and his colleagues has shown that small amounts of calcium oxide can neutralize the acid in distillers grains, a commonly used alternative to corn in many livestock ...

Hops helps reduce ammonia produced by cattle

April 20, 2010

An Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist may have found a way to cut the amount of ammonia produced by cattle. To do it, he's using a key ingredient of the brewer's art: hops.

Recommended for you

Nanoscale Lamb wave-driven motors in nonliquid environments

March 19, 2019

Light driven movement is challenging in nonliquid environments as micro-sized objects can experience strong dry adhesion to contact surfaces and resist movement. In a recent study, Jinsheng Lu and co-workers at the College ...

OSIRIS-REx reveals asteroid Bennu has big surprises

March 19, 2019

A NASA spacecraft that will return a sample of a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to Earth in 2023 made the first-ever close-up observations of particle plumes erupting from an asteroid's surface. Bennu also revealed itself ...

The powerful meteor that no one saw (except satellites)

March 19, 2019

At precisely 11:48 am on December 18, 2018, a large space rock heading straight for Earth at a speed of 19 miles per second exploded into a vast ball of fire as it entered the atmosphere, 15.9 miles above the Bering Sea.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.