Kansas Corn: DDG Nutrient Testing (MS)

Seed to STEM
Grade Level: Middle School

The availability of nutrients is important to maintaining the diets of livestock to keep them healthy. Having the correct ratio of nutrients is important to ensure that feed nutrients are not wasted, not overfed, and that feed efficiency is optimized on the farm. Scientists use specialized testing protocols to determine the major components required for healthy growth and the development of livestock.

Fermentation is the process in which sugars are broken down and fed to yeast to produce ethanol and carbon dioxide. All the remaining nutrients: protein, fat, minerals, and vitamins, are concentrated into distillers grains, which is a valuable feed for livestock.

Our job today is to test where the most nutrient availability is located by comparing corn slurry (before fermentation) with fermented corn mash. In this lab we will be focusing on three of these major nutrients, glucose, starch, and protein, which are vital components for healthy livestock.