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January | February 2014 Whisky by-products – a sustainable protein source for aquaculture

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The International magazine for the aquaculture feed industry

FEATURE

Whisky by-products – a sustainable protein source for aquaculture
by Julio Traub, PhD student, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland cottish whisky is a truly iconic the development of sustainable methods for University in Edinburgh, Scotland. The team product, with Scotland the largest- protein recovery suitable to the needs of both has been working on a protein recovery procproducing nation of whisky world- whisky and aquaculture producers, and a mas- ess from brewery and distillery by-products wide. Production has increased by tery of the economics behind the process and since 2011. This article will focus on the 30 percent in the last decade and more product are essential to ensure a sustainable nutritional properties and quantities of protein than five times in the last half-century. In large-scale protein supply to the aquaculture that could be potentially recovered from whisky by-products and particularly pot ale 2011 more than 500 million litres of pure feed sector. “Horizon Proteins” is a collaborative and draff, which are both produced during the alcohol (lpa) of whisky were produced in the UK. As the whisky industry prospers, research project based at Heriot-Watt manufacture of malt whisky. more attention is drawn to the by-products of whisky production. Whisky and whisky Table 1. Malt and grain whisky by-products. Whisky manufacture yields conby-products siderable amounts of by-products Whisky spirit is produced from – which include liquid and solid either malted barley as the sole Malt Whisky Pot ale: residues from first distillation, also known components – alongside the main cereal substrate or a mixture of as “Burnt ale”. Liquid substance that contains typically 5% solids and at least 40% protein on dry product. These materials contain unmalted cereal grain together with matter basis. significant amounts of proteins malted barley. It is important to Spent lees: residual liquor after second distillation. that are currently underutilised distinguish between the two kinds Mostly water, but also contains some volatile and are often perceived as a chalof whisky (malt and grain) and the components. Nutritive value is negligible and lenge rather than an opportunity cereals used in the process, since normally treated in bio-plants. Draff: grain solids left after starch and enzyme for distillers. the properties of the whisky and its extraction. Sometimes referred as distillers' grains by-products differ substantially. and used as animal feed. It contains typically The salmon farming indusThe production of malt whisky 70-85% moisture and at least 20% protein on a dry try, with a growing demand for in Scotland requires only three raw matter basis. proteins to satisfy the nutritional materials: barley, yeast and water. Grain Whisky Spent Wash: Liquid residue after distillation. requirements of their fish stocks, Nothing more, nothing less. This is Comparable to pot ale from malt whisky production could take advantage of the proa statutory requirement under the Spent Grain: The equivalent of draff in grain whisky production. teins available from whisky byScottish Whisky Regulations 2009. products. By reducing the reliance Scottish malt whisky can only be on wild fish and imported protein made (and, since 2012, bottled) in sources (e.g. soybean meal) to Scotland so this holds worldwide. meet the needs of an expandConsequently, the by-products ing market, UK aquaculture could from malt whisky originate from the benefit economically from a locally raw materials mentioned above. sourced sustainable protein supply. There are various types of bySymbiotic relationships such as this products, but from a nutritional can help to secure the long-term perspective, two are of particular sustainability of the aquaculture importance. Draff (also known as industry to meet the nutritional spent grains) is a solid by-product requirements of an expanding typically containing 70-85 percent world population. moisture and at least 20 percent An understanding of the crude protein content on a dry Figure 1: Historical malt whisky production in Scotland nutritional, chemical and physical matter basis. The other protein-rich 1946-2012 (Source: Scotch Whisky Association) properties of whisky by-products, by-product is pot ale. Pot ale is
20 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | January-February 2014

S

FEATURE
Table 2. Chemical composition and feeding values of malt distillery by-products. (2) Draff Dry Matter (g kg-1) Crude protein (g kg-1 DM) Ether extract (g kg-1 DM) Crude fibre (g kg-1 DM) Ash (g kg-1 DM) Ca (g kg-1 DM) 258 198 82 173 33 1.7 3.7 1.4 0.9 3.7 10 43 0.02 0.02 10.8 0.80 Pot ale 40 350 22 105 1.6 22.0 6.6 1.1 23.0 6.8 133 17 18 0.11 14.2 0.95

Figure 2: Malt whisky production process a liquid substance that contains typically 5 percent solids and at least 40 percent protein on dry matter basis. A list of distilling byproducts and their definitions are presented in Table 1. Figure 2 shows a simplified process diagram of malt whisky production, which includes raw materials, by-products and the main steps of the process. Whilst whisky by-products have wellestablished markets in Scotland, current uses do not specifically exploit the particular protein content of these materials. Currently, draff and pot ale are used as food for cattle, energy recovery, fertiliser and feedstock for anaerobic digestion. However, in the mediumto long-term, with bioethanol plants (which also produce plentiful cereals by-products) coming online, there will be an increasing competition for distillers. Additionally, current processing technologies rely on energy-intensive methods. Hence, due to increasing energy costs and increased competition, distiller’s by-products will have a reduced potential value to the whisky industry. Finding alternative markets for these by-products is important from an economic and a sustainability perspective.

P (g kg-1 DM) Mg (g kg-1 DM) Na (g kg-1 DM) K (g kg-1 DM) S (g kg-1 DM) Cu (g kg-1 DM) Mn (g kg-1 DM) Zn (g kg-1 DM) Co (g kg-1 DM) Se (g kg-1 DM) Metabolisable energy value (MJ kg-1 M) Degradability of crude protein

Barley and yeast in aquaculture feeds
To understand the nutritional properties of the whisky by-products it is necessary to review their components, specifically barley and yeast. Barley has been incorporated in animal feed diets, but has not been widely used

in aquafeeds for several reasons. Economical and nutritional considerations have played a key role in these decisions. Compared to other plant feedstuffs used in aquafeeds (see Table 3), barley has a low protein content (15 percent compared to 49 percent for soybean meal). However, a good amino acid profile makes the barley protein itself a suitable candidate for aquafeed diets.

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FEATURE
Table 3. Typical composition (as-fed basis) of fish meal and various plants feedstuff .(3) Ingredient Fish meal Barley Canola Corn Soya bean meal Wheat Protein (%) 72.0 14.9 38.0 8.5 48.5 12.9 Lipid (%) 8.4 2.1 3.8 3.6 0.9 1.7 Ash (%) 10.4 2.9 6.8 1.3 5.8 1.6 Lysine (%) 5.57 0.44 2.27 0.25 3.08 0.36 Methionine (%) 2.08 0.16 0.70 0.17 0.68 0.21 Cystine (%) 0.74 0.24 0.47 0.22 0.75 0.27

esses with by-products similar to the malt whisky industry, including grain distilleries, breweries and biofuels, could represent a protein source worth more than 200,000 tonnes annually, equivalent to £150-450m in protein sales across the UK.

Protein demand for salmon farming
Worldwide, farmed salmon and trout production reached 2.5 million tonnes in 2009. The main species cultured (Atlantic salmon, Rainbow trout and Coho salmon) accounted for around 95 percent of total salmon and trout production. The combined output of the top three producers (Norway, Chile and UK) represented more than 70 percent of the world's total output of the fish. Protein requirements for the species mentioned above could include up to 50 percent of their feed’s ingredients, which equates to a protein demand of at least 1.3 million tonnes globally on an annual basis. Protein demand for salmon and trout feeds in the UK is approximately 85,000 tonnes per annum. The aquaculture industry is set to expand in the coming years and its protein demand will consequently follow. In the UK alone, a 50 percent increase in salmon and trout production is expected by 2020, which translates into a protein consumption of at least 150,000 tonnes annually.

Malt whisky by-products: pot ale (left) and draff (right) The other essential component in whisky production is yeast. Although the volumes of yeast compared to barley are substantially smaller (typically a 60 to 1 ratio of barley to yeast is used in malt whisky processing), the nutritional properties of yeast are worth considering. Previous articles in International Aquafeed have reviewed the nutritional properties of yeast, but to summarise here, on a dry matter basis yeast can contain up to 50 percent protein. Additionally, other components beneficial to aquaculture can be found in distillers spent yeast such as nucleotides and β-glucans. tein output from UK malt whisky could offer up to 70,000 tonnes per annum of proteins to the animal and aquaculture feed markets. Average outputs of whisky by-products are reported in Table 4 below. Typically, solid by-products from malt whisky distillation have a bigger output per litre of pure alcohol than grain whisky distillation, but it is the other way round for liquid by-products. This is explained by the fact that the quantity of starch convertible into glucose is greater in the cereals used for grain whisky than those used for the production of malt whisky.

Conclusion
Scotch whisky and Scottish aquaculture could develop beneficial industrial synergies. The proteins found in whisky by-products are nutritionally comparable to proteins used in the currently available fish feed ingredients, and their potential volumes are enough to satisfy the Scottish salmon farming industry and achieve substantial protein sourcing benefits, in economical and sustainability terms. Whisky by-products can offer a sustainable supply of suitable protein to the aquaculture industry. There is a need to identify appropriate and sustainable techniques to obtain these proteins on an industrial scale. At Horizon Proteins, a Scottish research team is developing a sustainable process for protein recovery that could have much more financial viability than traditional treatment technologies for whisky by-products. The savings are not only shown economically, but through the significant reduction in energy requirements in processing, reducing the increasingly important global warming impact of the overall process.

Potentially

70k tonnes p.a.
of protein in malt whisky by-products across Scotland

Potentially

£140m p.a.

worth of protein in whisky by-products across Scotland

Protein supply from whisky by-products

Market value

Considering all the malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, proteins contained in pot ale could potentially supply at least 40,000 tonnes per annum. Including draff, the combined pro-

The market value of whisky by-product will depend on several factors including their protein and moisture content. Ultimately however, their price will be driven by international prices for fish and soybean meal. Based on these factors and current protein prices, it could be estimated that Table 4. By products outputs per litre of pure alcohol (2) protein recovery from malt Malt Grain whisky co-products could be worth up to £140m Solid by-products 3.5-5.5 kg 1.0-1.25 kg per annum across Scotland. Other fermentation procLiquid by-products 8.8-11.5 L 16-21 L
22 | INTERNATIONAL AQUAFEED | January-February 2014

FEATURE FEATURE

EXCELLENCE IN YEAST – EXCELLENT FOR FISH
Figure 2

ADDITIVES FOR AQUACULTURE SOLUTIONS

farm is bound to produce 7,000 tonnes be grown in anothutilising an area of 57 hectares (see Figure 2). er unit in Portugal Nevertheless, recent production problems recently acquired that have arisen have unfortunately compro- for the purpose. mised this turbot farm to attain full capacity Beginning production in 1997, the Aquacria production already this year. The Acuinova layout is a double row of Piscícolas facility was eight production units. Each production unit has the third flatfish one juvenile pavilion and eight growth pavilions. unit constructed in In the overhead shot of Figure 2, the juvenile Portugal. This highpavilions are coloured darker than the growth tech flatfish farm is pavilions. Each juvenile pavilion (see Figure 3) located in Torreira in has 30 40 m2 tanks for 10-100 g turbot, making the north of Portugal, a total of 480 juvenile tanks, and each growth and is the only aquapavilion in turn has 20 113 m2 growth tanks for culture facility in the fish from 100 gr. to commercial size in a total country operating of 1,248 growth tanks (see Figure 4). At full with shallow raceway capacity it will create more than 200 direct and system technology in conjunction with 600 indirect jobs. Ten-gram juvenile turbot are brought a recirculation aquaweekly from one of the Spanish company’s culture system (RAS) turbot hatcheries to Acuinova Mira. Fish are for the growth out automatically and manually fed, up to twelve phase of Senegalese M ade i n G e rm y • production, times daily with juveniles and up to four times sole an an rm daily in the grow-out phase, until they reach allowing REAL the fish BREW to ER substantially the commercial size of 1-1.5 kg which may farm S‘ YEAST its environlast between 600 and 750 days. Acuinova reduce has two pumping stations, the water intake is mental impact (see located 2.4 km offshore, each one equipped Figures 6, 7). In 2011, during with nine 250 kW pumps providing a 10.8 m3 per second water flow, enough to provide a the management of For Leiber`s specialty yeast products, daily water supply for a city the size of Madrid. its previous own“Made Germany” is afarm, seal ers, of quality. the flatfish farm Another in Portuguese turbot Piscicultura do Rio Alto, located in Estela in began its expansion northern Portugal (see Figure 5), produced policy, which was Multibiotic effect Leiber already – concluded. turbot from 1993 to 2011, of when it was yeast decided to abandon turbot production and Therefore, producvitality, health and performance farm Senegalese sole instead. At present, this tion of Senegalese for fish. aquaculture unit is undergoing major modifica- sole will be substantions after being bought this year by a Spanish tially increased, with company (Sea8 Porto) to be converted into an output of 350-400 a hatchery for Senegalese sole, which will tonnes estimated for
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Successful moisture control in aquatic feeds Current challenges and opportunities in amino acid nutrition of salmonids Whisky by-products:
– a sustainable protein source for aquaculture

Closing the food waste loop:
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