Removing fiber from distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) using the elusieve process results in an enhanced product with greater nutritional value for growing and finishing pigs, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana.

The elusieve process separates fiber from DDGS by blowing air through DDGS that has been separated by particle size. It’s similar to separating chaff from wheat, according to a Web site about the process.

Not yet being used at commercial scale, the elusieve process is being researched at pilot scale at Mississippi State University (MSU), which has the equipment to separate fiber from one ton of DDGS an hour, according to Radhakrishnan Srinivasan, assistant research professor at MSU’s department of agricultural and biological engineering. Srinivasan studied the process at the University of Illinois while completing his doctorate and now works at MSU.

The study, which was published in the Canadian Journal of Animal Science, showed that elusieve DDGS resulted in 6 to 7% greater digestible energy and metabolizable energy compared to regular DDGS. It was noted, however, that 6% of the usable energy was removed during the elusieve process. For the study, researchers used two separate batches of DDGS obtained from Dakota Gold Research Association.

As pigs grow, the microbes in the hind gut increase, suggesting that finishing pigs could utilize the energy in fiber better than growing pigs. However, in this case, there was no change in how well the pigs utilized fiber between the growing and finishing phases of pigs, the report said.

The emerging technology has an excellent potential for use in the marketplace¸ Srinivasan said, adding it would be particularly useful for DDGS used as feed for non-ruminant animals such as swine and chickens. However, he couldn’t think of any livestock which the technology wouldn’t be beneficial for. It has not yet been tested on DDGS that has had corn oil removed. “I believe it would still work as effectively because it is a physical process and the oil removal wouldn't affect it,” he said.

By removing the fiber, about 10% of the material is removed. The fiber can be used for many things, such as feed for ruminants, a fuel source, feedstock for cellulosic ethanol, polymer composites and corn fiber gum production, he said. The elusieve process can also be used to remove fiber from corn flour before fermentation, Srinivasan added. Doing that would increase ethanol productivity and produce low-fiber DDGS without the need to separate it at the back end.