Reports from IPPE

ebeam me up: feed ingredients get the Star Trek treatment

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ebeam Technologies is looking to change how the biological burden in feed crops can be managed starting at harvest. 

The technology company is a part of COMET Group and has been developing agricultural sector uses for what it calls its “advanced oxidation technology,” using an electron beam system, said Gregor Hommes, business development manager with ebeam Technologies. The focus has been on reducing the bio burden for feed ingredients and on eggshells.

The electron beam lamp system can be used to inactivate challenges like bacteria, viruses and molds within dry feed ingredients and to reduce toxin levels, he told FeedNavigator at this year’s International Processing and Packaging Expo (IPPE).  

The process also can be adjusted to target outer layers of ingredients, he said. “Wiith this technology you can nicely tune how deeply you want to penetrate into the material,” he added.

Advanced oxidation technology

The system was initially designed for use in antiseptic food packaging, said Hommes. However, that expanded into use processing dry feed ingredients in place of steam.

“Steam is one standard application, but the idea was, for dry product why not use a dry technology?” he said.

The process also can be more energy efficient than UV systems, which allows for faster processing, he said. The electron lamps currently offered can process up to five tons of feed an hour when used in combination.

Feed ingredients also do not need to be dried after they run through the system as they may with steam processing, he said.

The system can be used to inactivate bacteria and viruses and kill spores, said Hommes. “If you have mycotoxins the mycotoxins don’t care about the steam and even the heat is not enough, but with this advanced oxidation technology you can nicely get rid of mycotoxins,” he added.

Mycotoxin levels can be reduced by 30 to 90% depending on the situation and processing, he said. However, another option is to process feed ingredients post-harvest and neutralize the molds that generate mycotoxins before storing the feed grains.

“Through this entire process the mold can produce toxins and that doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “It’s clear the primary product should be treated and then processed.”

The system works most efficiently with dry feedstuffs, like soybeans, said Hommes. “I would start at the ingredient level before the feed is formulated, because usually you have a pellet or something that is extruded, and the extrusion process is already a killing step,” he said.

Additionally, while a product like soybean meal could be run through the advanced oxidation system, it may be more logical to reduce the bio burden before the seed is processed, he said.  

“Go to the very beginning and bring down the bio burden there, because then you are not in trouble in your facility,” he said.

Industry partnerships

After developing the electron technology, the company has been partnering with others to put it to use, said Hommes. Currently, the group is looking at expanding into the US and Asia.

“We have a subsidiary in Davenport (Iowa) and we do some development work there, but what is still missing are these strong partners that we have in Europe,” he said. “We would love to develop something bigger.”

One outcome of such a partnership would be a way to process 20 to 50 tons of dry feed ingredients an hour, he said. “The proof of concept is there with two different companies – the scale-up should be done with another partner who is really interested in scaling it up,” he added.

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