MSU professor removes corn’s fiber

Process is expected to improve poultry feed, ethanol processing patent in the works

A Mississippi State University professor has found a unique way to remove fiber from corn and has filed for a patent for the process called Elusieve.

Dr. Radhakrishnan Srinivasan of the MSU Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering invented Elusieve with Dr. Vijay Singh of the University of Illinois.

The process is valuable for efficiency in producing ethanol and feeding livestock.

In traditional ethanol production, corn kernels are taken from the corn plant, and only the starch, which represents about 50 percent of the dry kernel mass, is used to make ethanol. By getting the unwanted fiber out of the way, efficiency in ethanol production can be improved.

“Corn has mainly starch, fiber and protein. We are removing the fiber, so the starch is increased in concentration. Therefore, you can produce more ethanol,” Srinivasan said.

Dr. Radhakrishnan Srinivasan works at the Elusieve pilot plant at Mississippi State University. For the Mississippi Business Journal.

Pigs and chickens are non-ruminant animals, meaning they do not digest fiber well. More than 70 percent of the diets in raising these animals is comprised of ground corn flour, soybean meal (SBM) and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). Removing fiber from these feed stocks would increase the energy content of the feed, resulting in decreased need for expensive ingredients like fat and enzymes.

Without the fiber in the feed, “chickens and pigs can digest better and grow faster,” said Srinivasan, who expects the Elusieve process to be used in feed mills to separate fiber downstream of the bins where the feeds are stored.

The Elusieve pilot plant uses sieving and air classification to separate fiber from different grains. For the Mississippi Business Journal.

Mississippi State currently has one pilot plant for Elusieve, which uses the combination of sieving and air classification, called elutriation, to separate fiber from feeds. Ground corn flour, SBM or DDGS is sieved into four sizes, and air is blown through the three biggest sizes to carry away fiber. Fiber separation increases starch content of ground corn flour and increases protein contents of DDGS and SBM.

Srinivasan said other groups in the country are working to remove fiber from corn but in different and more expensive ways, while Elusieve is a simple, physical process. The patent for DDGS via Elusieve has already been obtained.

Research is being funded by a Midwestern company whose name is confidential.

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