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Extrusion and Vitamins – Challenges & Opportunities

ExPress® Soy

It is generally thought that extrusion and vitamins do not work well together.  We have even indicated this in the Insta-Pro blog.  Vitamins, a group of molecules that are present in foods, and that animals need to survive and grow, tend to be sensitive to heating (some more than others).

In the world of animal nutrition, vitamin and trace mineral premixes are widely used in formulations (small inclusion) but high value/unit, products with all of the relevant vitamins and minerals for a particular species and stage of production.  It’s fairly easy to include the recommended level of a premix in a diet formulation and to be done with it.

However, earlier this year, prices rose and availabilities of purified vitamins were reduced, in particular vitamins A and E, causing some in the feed industry to worry (Read more from WATT here and here).  Some of our customers shared the same information with me – skyrocketing prices for some purified vitamins, and warnings that supplies may be short.  Indeed, should we just get used to expensive vitamins?

It makes sense to get as many vitamins from feed ingredients as possible, and therefore, have less reliance on purified vitamins in premixes.  So, how can extrusion play into this?  Are there positive relationships between extrusion and vitamins to be found?

There are some unknowns here, but we do know that high-shear dry extrusion and mechanical oil pressing of soy will produce ExPress® soy meal with residual oil.  We also know that with our process, the naturally-occurring tocopherols (vitamin E molecules) are retained in the oil.  So, by simply choosing this type of soy meal over the solvent-extracted (hexane), commodity version, with all of the oil removed, you can supply animals with vitamin E from the soy meal.

The same is true for ExPress® soy oil – using ExPress® soy oil in place of solvent-extracted soy oil will provide a source of vitamin E.  The solvent-extraction process for oil isolation separates the oil from everything else, including naturally-present vitamin E.

For vitamin A, high-shear dry extrusion may play a role.  We turn to our new high-shear dry extruder model 2000CGYellow corn (not white) contains carotenoids, which are converted into active vitamin A in the body.  We know from other foods with carotenoids that various types of processing actually improve bioavailability when consumed – especially important because carotenoid availability can be very low with raw vegetables.

So, there is a potential opportunity for high-shear dry extrusion of yellow corn to enhance the availability of vitamin A.  Could this become important in light of expensive, purified vitamin A?

Speak with Insta-Pro International® if you are interested in getting more vitamins out of your ingredients.