Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Factoid: Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles (DGGS)

Ethanol has become an increasingly common alternative fuel, corn formerly fed to animals has been diverted to ethanol production, and the cost of corn has gone up due to higher demand. Many of you have felt this in recent price increases in your pet foods.

DGGS are a by-product of the ethanol industry. The wet mash that is left over after distillation of the ethanol contains the remains of those grains, but the starch has been fermented so the leftover mash is actually low in starch. It is high in protein, partially because of the yeast that was added to start fermentation.

So DGGS is already used in some lower end pet foods, and you may start seeing more of it across the board. The quality of the protein is apparently better than that of corn gluten meal because of the additional yeast protein, but the digestibility is comparable to corn gluten meal (i.e., pretty low). In the article I read, the nutritionist states that the single drawback is the potential presence of fungal and mold toxins. Since the ethanol industry is not regulated as stringently as the feed industry, this is a major concern.

Scorecard: DGGS is a plant protein that can be used to lower the cost of pet foods. If the pet feed industry takes up use of DGGS, it will just encourage more mass, unsustainable corn planting and divert resources needed to find a better answer for energy production. Oh, and it's another 'processed food product' that maybe our pets don't need, unless it's the best the owner can afford. What do you think?

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