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Study concludes that added enzyme makes phosphorus in rice co-products more digestible in pig diets

Published September 29, 2015

URBANA, Ill - Rice is the third most widely grown cereal grain worldwide with over 700 million tons produced per year. Co-products from the processing of rice for human consumption are an abundant feed source for livestock. Research conducted at the University of Illinois is helping producers make the most of these ingredients.

Rice co-products include rice hulls, rice bran, broken rice, and rice mill feed. Rice hulls primarily consist of lignin and ash and have no nutritional value. Rice bran is the outer part of the grain after the hulls have been removed. The bran is removed from brown rice to make polished white rice and makes up 8 to 10 percent of the weight of paddy rice. It can be fed as full fat rice bran (FFRB) or defatted rice bran (DFRB).

Broken rice consists of kernels of polished rice that have been broken during the milling process. Rice mill feed is a combination of rice hulls, rice bran, and rice polishings.

"Most of the phosphorus in rice co-products is hard for pigs to digest because it's bound to phytate," explained Hans H. Stein, a U of I professor of animal sciences. "About 84 to 88 percent of the phytate is in the bran layer so rice bran is a good source of phosphorus if we can get it into a form that pigs can absorb."

Microbial phytase, an enzyme produced by specially engineered microbes such as bacteria or yeast, breaks the bonds holding phosphorus to phytate. Microbial phytase has been used for years to improve phosphorus digestibility in U.S. swine diets based largely on corn and soybean meal. Stein, along with Ph. D. student Gloria Casas, set out to test its effects on the digestibility of phosphorus in rice co-products fed to pigs.

First, they fed a group of growing pigs diets containing rice co-products with no added phytase. The standardized total tract digestibility of phosphorus was greatest in broken rice at 75.6 percent. The digestibility of phosphorus in FFRB, rice mill feed, brown rice, and DFRB ranged from 26.4 to 33.1 percent.

Adding phytase greatly improved phosphorus digestibility in some of the rice co-products. When phytase was added to the diets, the digestibility of phosphorus increased to 64.5 percent in brown rice, 41.3 percent in FFRB, and 46.7 percent in rice mill feed. The digestibility of phosphorus in broken rice and DFRB was not increased by the addition of phytase.

"Broken rice contains no bran so it has less phytate-bound phosphorus, but also much less phosphorus overall than co-products with bran," said Stein. "Using microbial phytase in combination with brown rice, rice mill feed, or full fat rice bran makes these ingredients valuable sources of phosphorus in diets for growing pigs."

He added that with the use of microbial phytase, producers can also decrease the amount of phosphorus excreted by pigs. "So this not only reduces the cost of adding supplemental phosphorus to the diets, but it also has benefits for the environment."

The paper, "Effects of microbial phytase on the apparent and standardized total tract digestibility of phosphorus in rice coproducts fed to growing pigs" was published in a recent edition of the Journal of Animal Sciences. The full text is available online at

Maegan Reilly
I use the knowledge gained through U of I’s challenging science courses on a daily basis.
Tinley Park, IL

Working with patients who are undergoing cancer treatment can be a tough job. Some professionals, including Food Science and Human Nutrition graduate Maegan Reilly, enjoy the challenge because of the positive impact they’re able to make on their patients’ lives.

“My favorite part of being an oncology dietitian is having the opportunity to form meaningful relationships with my patients and their families to help them through a very challenging time,” Maegan says.

Maegan is a senior clinical dietitian at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Her daily role is working with patients to improve or maintain their nutrition status during and after cancer treatment. She is also a board-certified nutrition support specialist and works with patients who require tube feeding or intravenous nutrition. 

The dietetics program at the University of Illinois provided the tools and information needed to succeed in one of the most challenging combined dietetics internships and master’s program in the country, Maegan says.  She has continued to use the building blocks provided at U of I in her current role at Dana Farber.  

“Having a strong science background has proven to be very beneficial in the world of clinical nutrition,” Maegan says. “I use the knowledge gained through U of I’s challenging science courses on a daily basis.”

Beth Peralta
I love the flexibility and creativity that my job allows.
Mundelein, IL

The Illinois experience teaches many vital skills, including time management, teamwork, and a foundation of knowledge in one’s specific field. Now a U of I Extension media/communications specialist, registered and licensed dietitian Beth Peralta learned many of these skills, along with her foundation in dietetics and consumer education, at the University of Illinois. 

U of I also prepared her for her communications work in family and consumer sciences, which she loves.

“I love the flexibility and creativity that my job allows,” Beth says. “My favorite days are when I’m responsible for cooking, plating, and photographing recipes for our website and calendar. I also enjoy visiting with staff and clients, and helping to tell the story of how Extension’s Illinois Nutrition Education Programs positively impact the people of Illinois.”

Pairing those skills with her passion for nutrition education, her adventurous personality, and the desire to improve and learn are key characteristics that allowed Beth to excel after graduation.

“These traits served me well in the early part of my career as a hospital dietitian, then as a program coordinator in adult weight management, and now in my current job,” Beth says.

Limited pork expansion

Published September 28, 2015

URBANA, Ill. – The pork industry has largely overcome the impacts of the 2014 PED virus, and pork producers have been disciplined in limiting expansion after record 2014 profits, according to Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt. As a result, he said that pork supplies should be only modestly higher in 2016 and provide prices that cover all costs of production. However, there are some concerns for the longer run as global meat and poultry supplies continue to expand with a weak world income base. 

“The number of pigs per litter has set new quarterly highs in each of the three quarters so far this year,” Hurt said. “In the most recent summer quarter, the number of pigs per litter reached an all-time high of 10.39.

“So although the PED virus left a deficit in market hogs a year ago, that deficit will rapidly close by the end of this year. This can be seen in the current count of market hogs compared to year-ago levels,” Hurt said. “Pigs that were 180 pounds or larger on Sept.1 were up 10 percent. Although 10 percent higher is a large increase, it is a reflection of the deficit of market hogs one year ago. The number of market hogs weighing 120 to 179 pounds that will come to market in October and early November was up 8 percent, but the number of 50- to 119-pound pigs that will come to market from late November to early January was up only 3 percent. Finally, pigs under 50 pound that will be the foundation of the first quarter 2016 supplies were down modestly.”

In USDA’s September Hogs and Pigs report, producers indicated that they had expanded the breeding herd by just 1 percent. In addition, they were going to decrease fall farrowings by 2 percent and winter farrowings by 1 percent. 

“Pork supplies are expected to be up 4 percent in the final quarter of 2015 with a combination of 5 percent more hogs and 1 percent lower weights,” Hurt said. “For 2015, pork supplies are expected to be 7 percent higher than supplies in 2014. Supplies for 2016 should be about 1 percent higher than in 2015 with the first three quarters being down 1 percent, unchanged, and up 1 percent, respectively.”

Hog prices averaged near $55 per live hundredweight for the third quarter of 2015 and are expected to drop to an average in the higher $40s in the final quarter. Prices are expected to average near $50 in the winter and then move up seasonally to the mid-$50s in the second and third quarters of 2016. Prices in the final quarter of 2016 are anticipated to be in the mid to higher $40s.

Hurt said that for the 2015 calendar year, hog prices are expected to average about $51 on a live-weight basis. Current projections for 2016 are for a similar average price. These prices are in sharp contrast to the $76 record high prices of 2014 when PED reduced pork supplies.

Costs of production in both 2015 and 2016 are expected to be similar, at around $51 per hundredweight. Costs for both years are the same as the projected price, and thus at break-even point. These cost projections include costs for full depreciation and a normal rate of return for all capital and labor. Therefore, at the breaking-even point, all costs are covered.

“After the record profits of 2014, there has been concern that the industry would over-expand,” Hurt said. “At this point, that concern has not developed with supply and demand anticipated to be in balance for the coming 12 months. This also serves as a warning to the industry to make sure that further expansion plans remain moderate.  

“There seem to be growing threats in the future for the meats sector,” Hurt added. “Those include continued expansion of total meat supplies into 2016 and 2017 with rapid expansion of poultry and increased beef supplies. The large drop in finished cattle prices in recent weeks suggest that retail beef prices could begin to drop this fall and provide added competition for pork. In the longer run, beef supplies will continue to expand for multiple years. Potential weakness of meat and poultry exports is also a concern with slowing world economic growth and a strong U.S. dollar.”

According to Hurt, feed prices will remain low for the next nine months due to strong yields for 2014 and 2015 crops and weakened exports. “Animal product producers will want to take advantage of harvest price lows this fall. However, longer term, managers need to remain aware that low feed prices are not guaranteed if weather should turn more adverse in some important growing areas.”


Dean Hauser Testimony to U.S. House Agricultural Subcommittee

Published September 28, 2015
ACES Dean Robert Hauser
ACES Dean Robert Hauser

URBANA, Ill. - Robert Hauser, dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences has been invited to testify at the U.S. House Agriculture Committee’s Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research Subcommittee hearing beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Hauser’s testimony will focus on research issues related to major field crops and renewable energy crops, and the associated role of USDA/NIFA funding. The subcommittee will also take the opportunity to discuss policy challenges facing the research community, such as extension and outreach, mechanisms to leverage federal resources, cooperation between the various institutions, and other issues of importance to the community.

The hearing, which will last until about noon, will be streamed live on the House Agriculture Committee’s website. Shortly afterwards, video of the hearing will be available.


ACES Alumni Board of Directors Meeting

10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
ACES Library, Information & Alumni Center, Sims Room

The College of ACES Alumni Board of Directors meeting will take place in the Sims Room for the ACES Library from 10:00 - 3:00 p.m.


Ag Comm Huddle Reunion

8:30 AM - 10:30 AM
ACES Library, Information & Alumni Center

Join the Ag Communications program for the Ag Comm Huddle during University of Illinois Homecoming weekend. Complimentary event includes coffee, doughnuts and story sharing with agricultural communications faculty, students and staff.



ACES in Places: Barber & Oberwortmann Horticulture Center

5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
227 N. Gougar Road, Joliet, IL 60432

The College of ACES Alumni Association invites you to join us for an ACES in Places event.

Share your Illini Spirit in Joliet, IL at the Barber & Oberwortmann Horticultural Center. The facility is a 12,000 square foot facility located adjacent to the Bird Haven Greenhouse. You will have an opportunity to tour the green houses, enjoy dinner and a short program from the University of Illinois College of ACES.

We hope you will join us for an evening to network and celebrate agriculture with the College of ACES.

When: Thursday, October 15, 2015

Where: Barber & Oberwortmann Horticultural Center
227 N. Gougar Road, Joliet, IL 60432

5:00 p.m. - Tour of greenhouses
6:00 p.m. - Buffet Dinner
7:00 p.m. - Program
8:00 p.m. - Wrap Up

Cost: $25.00 per person

RSVP by Friday, October 2, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.

Register online:

For questions or assistance, please contact the University of Illinois College of ACES Alumni Association at 217-333-7744