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Microwave Processing of Animal Feed: A Brief Review

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. 62(3): 705-717. (doi: 10.13031/trans.13266) @2019
Authors:   Graham Brodie, Natalie Bootes, Frank Dunshea, Brian Leury
Keywords:   Digestibility, Fodder, Microwave, Ruminant.

Abstract. Microwave frequencies occupy the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum from 300 MHz to 300 GHz. Microwave heating involves the simultaneous and rapid diffusion of heat and moisture through a material as a result of interactions between electromagnetic fields and polar molecules in the material. Microwave treatment of animal fodder and grains achieves many beneficial outcomes. It can be used for efficient drying and moisture leveling prior to long-term fodder storage. Localized steam explosions within the cell structures during microwave treatment also significantly increase the moisture permeability of biomass, decrease its mechanical strength, and increase its digestibility. Microwave treatment also modifies protein complexes, making some grain starches more accessible to digestion and creating “bypass proteins” that are digested in the intestines rather than in the rumen. The creation of these proteins significantly improves animal production efficiency. As a secondary benefit, microwave treatment of grain and fodder can reduce milling energy, kill weed seeds, and provide some level of bio-security for farmers.

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