Petfood Industry - May 2018 - 19
A Super-Seaweed Food for Companion
By Gary Lynch, Ph.D., HORN Animal Nutrition
Seaweed and kelp products are not new for either animal or human
foods. But as innovative pet food formulators continue to seek out
natural ingredients that provide essential nutrients in a bioavailable
and sustainable manner, the spotlight shifts on seaweed and
kelp. These ingredients represent a wide range of marine-based
macroalgae. Understanding the types of plant groups, processing
methods and the final nutritional quality will help bring to light the
quality products that offer real nutritional value.
QUALITY MEASURES SEPARATE HIGH-NUTRIENT
ASCOPHYLLUM NODOSUM PRODUCTS FROM SOIL
GRADE SEAWEED AND KELP MATERIALS THAT ARE
MASS PROCESSED AND USED AS FERTILIZER.
* Seaplant Advantage: Seaweeds collect nutrients from circulating
seawater, which provides a powerful and consistent source of
minerals and phytonutrients. Thus, the nutritional profile of seaweeds
is more extensive than what is offered by soil-grown crops. Seaweeds
also provide essential nutrients, including trace minerals and vitamins
in an organic and highly bioavailable form.
* Micronutrients: These are dietary nutritional components that
animals require in very small quantities. Conventional land-grown
crop ingredients provide little of these nutrients; so, foods must
be supplemented with synthetic or chemically derived vitamin and
mineral ingredients. The forms of vitamins and trace minerals of
these natural, organic seaweeds are highly bioavailable, as opposed
to inorganic forms like sulfates and oxides.
* Ascophyllum nodosum: Seaweed can refer to any marine macroalgae.
There are hundreds of species and each have their own nutrient
profile. Ascophyllum nodosum, also known as rockweed, is
considered the premier macroalgae product for nutritional
applications. It is found in the tidal zones of the
North Atlantic, from New England through Canada
and into northern Europe. Growing location is
critical, since seaweeds get their nutrients from the
ocean. The more pristine the water, the higher the
quality of the nutritional composition.
* Sustainable Production: While seaweeds grow
naturally, proper management of seaweed beds
is essential to ensure healthy regrowth for future
harvesting cycles. Proper techniques include using
specially designed equipment to remove only the
top portion of the frond. Care must be taken to not
adversely affect the reproductive quality of the plant
by cutting too close to the base, enabling regrowth
and future harvesting.
* Processing to Protect Nutritional Value: The high nutritional value
of Ascophyllum nodosum can be rapidly lost via negligent or mass
production processing methods. While time is critical, material
should be handled with a controlled process to prevent nutrient loss.
This includes smaller batch sizes from the ocean itself, controlling
dehydration and avoiding excess heat. This allows for both high
nutrient content and helps eliminate post-harvest microbial
contamination. Lastly, a fine grind size for the final product allows for
both consistency in final product and ease of digestion.
Quality measures separate high-nutrient Ascophyllum nodosum
products from soil grade seaweed and kelp materials that are mass
processed and used as fertilizer. These measures include periodic
testing to ensure nutrient composition; procedures to eliminate foreign
materials; and verification that the product is free from microbial
contamination. The micronutrient focus of Ascophyllum nodosum
indicates that low levels are best used for efficacious results. Levels of
0.1% to 2.0% are generally recommended.
Marine plants, such as Ascophyllum nodosum, have long been highly
regarded for the broadest spectrum of naturally occurring trace
elements and vitamins of any plant, but more is yet to be discovered.
Current research is testing its unique compounds including
polysaccharides, terpenes, polyphenols and phlorotannins. Recent
peer reviewed journals reported on a growing number of benefits from
these bioactive compounds including heart health, immune health,
osteoporotic health and metabolic health, among others.
The unique nutrient content of Ascophyllum nodosum makes this
ingredient worthy of consideration for premium pet foods and
nutritionally functional treats.
Mandy, the Golden Retriever as a puppy and a great grandmother.
This vital companion animal has Ascophyllum nodosum as a
regular part of her diet through every stage of her life.
For more than 20 years, Gary Lynch, Ph.D. has been contributing to the progression of the industry through a career in formulation, sales and marketing
for the pet food and commercial feed markets. He is a senior project and account manager at HORN, a leading distributor of specialty products for more
than 50 years. HORN represents world-class ingredient manufacturers, including SOURCE, a pioneer in micronutrient supplementation. Dr. Lynch is part
of HORN Animal Nutrition, a specialty team with expertise in product formulation and the delivery of quality ingredients to the pet food industry.
email@example.com * 800.442.4676 * www.ethorn.com/animal