Up-Cycling Low Value Proteins With Food Technologies Promotes Sustainability – Dr. Charles Starkey, Auburn University

Posted: August 2, 2022

Episode 49: Up-Cycling Low Value Proteins With Food Technologies Promotes Sustainability

Guests: Dr. Charles Starkey, Joshua Flees, Justin Dunavant from Auburn University

Podcast Topic

This week’s episode features several guests from one of the top companion animal research programs in the country, Auburn University. This group focuses on joining sustainability with functionality, specifically up-cycling low value proteins with food technology.


Dr. Starkey begins by explaining that changing eating habits of Americans has led to utilizing organ meats for pet food, as the supply is plentiful and the cost is low. (10:35)

Joshua Flees said that while the research isn’t complete, by using these types of products (organ meats, wing tips) a few dollars worth of value can be added to a feasible product. (20:40)

Dr. Altom summarized the process used to turn some of these products into a more usable protein, which is hydro coli technology, where a sodium algenate is blended into the meat mixture to be properly hydrated, then mixed with a calcium ion. (25:28)

Dr. Starkey addresses the concern of bone fragments in pet food. He mentioned there are a lot of technologies such as x-ray to make sure fragments aren’t included. By grinding bone fine enough to be below the safe threshold, they can still utilize the protein and how it aids the hydrocoli technology and gelling. (36:51)

Dr. Altom wrapped up by commenting that as the pet and human population grows around the world, pets and humans will be competing for the same protein and amino acid choices. We will have to find new and different ways to provide nutrition to pets, such as these co-products and whole animal opportunities. (54:15)

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This podcast is sponsored by Balchem Animal Nutrition and Health. This podcast is sponsored by Balchem. All views expressed by the guests are the opinions of those individuals and are not the views of the Balchem, its affiliates or employees.