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Effect of Storage Period on Physical, Sensory and Mechanical Characteristics of Green Fodders Pellets, Dry Fodders Pellets and Concentrates Pellets
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Methods: The experiments were conducted at Forage Pelleting Unit, Department of Forage Crops in Agricultural College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu from December 2020 to June 2022 to identify the best suitable fodder crops for pellets production. Three laboratory experiments laid out in completely randomized block design (CRD) were conducted with three replication. Each experiment of pelletisation had different treatments, viz., experiment I with 13 different categories of green fodder, experiment II with 11 different types of dry fodders and experiment III with 9 types of concentrates.
Result: The observation of physical characteristics (colour and odour) and sensory characteristics (mould) were noted at regular intervals from date of pelleting, 60 days after pelleting, 120 days after pelleting and 180 days after pelleting. The mechanical characteristics such as pellet durability index (PDI) was recorded by using a tumbling can apparatus. The PDI was remained steady over the period of time. In case of pellets made from certain fodder sources, the colour was not the same and odour was not favourable when the pellets were kept for longer duration (beyond 120 DAP). Except for the agathi pellets, cumbu stover pellets and sorghum grain pellets, all other feed pellets were mold-free.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The observation on storage parameters of physical, sensory and mechanical characteristics of green fodder pellets, dry fodder pellets and concentrates pellets were recorded. The pellet durability index significance level (P<0.05) was assessed by using OPSTAT software and then difference between means were ranked by using Duncan’s new multiple range test (Duncan, 1955).
Physical and sensory characters of fodder pellets
The physical and sensory characters of fodder pellets are the key factor used to determine the storage life of fodder pellets for animal acceptability as well as market accessibility. Based on the nature of the pellets, the physical characters (colour and mould) and sensory character (odour) was noted at regular intervals from day of pellet production (0 DAP), 60 DAP, 120 DAP and 180 DAP. The individual fodder pellets colour is noted, mould is classed as present or absent and odour is noted as pleasant, favorable and unfavorable as observed at 0 DAP, 60 DAP, 120 DAP and 180 DAP.
Mechanical character of fodder pellets
Pellet durability index is used for determining the pellet quality and it is the measure of pellet resistance against fragmentation and impact forces. High quality pellets can be defined as pellets that can endure repeated handling as during bagging, transportation, storage and moving on feed lines without excessive breakage or generation of fine particles. The durability of pellets can be assessed by using a tumbling can device. For this, 10 grams of individual feed pellets were first sieved to remove any small particles and the samples were tumbled for 10 minutes at 50 rpm. The samples were immediately sieved with a 5 mm sieve for around 30 seconds to remove fine particles and determine the percentage of intact feed samples.
The PDI was computed as per the procedure of ASAE Standards (2003).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
In this study, the physical characteristics such as colour and mould were noted and are presented in Table 1. Green, dark green, light green, greenish brown and light brown were the colors of green fodder pellets as given in Table 1 and Table 1a. Dark brown, light brown, black, light yellow and greenish are the colors of dry fodders pellets and are given in Table 2 and Table 2a, while brown, dark brown and blackish brown are the colors of concentrates pellets and are given in Table 3 and Table 3a. The physical and sensory characters (colour, odour and mould) are indicative factor for the pellets of excellent qualities. Odour is an important physical characteristic in terms of pellets acceptability. Regarding green fodder pellets, all the green fodder pellets were characterized by pleasant odour with no indication of putrefaction. Meanwhile, the Agathi pellets (G10) were affected with unpleasant odour as the storage period increased. Regarding dry fodder pellets and concentrates pellets, the same colour as from the date of pellets production was maintained in all the dry fodder and concentrates pellets. Regarding the odour, freshly prepared dry fodders pellets and concentate pellets were registered with pleasant and favourable odour. As the time increases, the odour became unpleasant only in pearl millet straw pellets (D6) among the dry fodder pellets and sorghum grain pellets (C2) among the concentrate pellets at 120 DAP and 180 DAP. This finding was supported by Ojo et al., (2019).
Mechanical characteristics of fodder pellets
The mechanical characteristics of fodder pellets is Pellet Durability Index and assesses a pellet’s resistance to impact and fragmentation forces, is used to assess its quality. When a pellet’s PDI is high, it indicates that it is stable, Whereas low PDI indicates that the stability of the pellets is weak.
In experiment 1, the individual green fodder pellets PDI were observed and presented in Table 4. The Pellet Durability Index (PDI) ranged from 88.1 per cent to 99. 3 per cent. Among green fodder pellets, the G8- Hedge lucerne pellets has recorded highest percent of PDI which recorded with 99.3 % when compared with all other treatments and it was on par with G1- Bajra Napier hybrid grass,G3- Cenchrus grass, G4 -Fodder sorghum, G8-Hedge lucerne , G9 -Fodder cowpea, G10- Agathi, G11- Moringa and G13- Subabul and it suggests that the pellets are more stable. This might be due to that protein, lignin, starch and fat are the natural biomass binders that can be activated under high pressure during the pelleting process. These binders aided to bind the particle together and increase the durability of the pellet (Kaliyan 2008). Whereas, high-fiber feedstuffs are difficult to agglomerate into pellets, resulting in low durability (Cavalcanti et al., 2005). This was confirmed by Hansen and Storebakken, (2007).
In experiment 2, the different dry fodder pellets PDI were observed and presented in Fig 1. Among dry fodder pellets, D10-sugarcane top pellets had recorded highest PDI which registered with 99.4% than all other treatments. Least PDI was recorded in D6- cumbu stover pellets with 93.2%. The natural biomass binders that can be activated under high pressure during the pelleting process include protein, lignin, starch and fat. These binders helped to hold the particle together and improved the pellet’s durability. According to Colley et al., (2006), pelletization techniques significantly increased the bulk density of corn stover, ground switch grass, sorghum stalk wheat straw and of about 6-10 times higher than before pelleting. This was confirmed by Stevens (1987) and Winowiski (1998).
In experiment 3, the different concentrate pellets PDI were observed and given in Fig 2. The highest PDI in concentrated feed was recorded in C2- sorghum grain pellets and least PDI was recorded in C9 -wheat bran pellets (97.1%). This might be due to preheating in the presence of moisture softens the natural binders in the biomass, such as starch, lignin and protein, prior to pelletization, resulting in more durable pellets. This increase in moisture with increase in durability might be due to binding of water molecule that strengthened the bonds between individual particles in the pellets as suggested by Fasina (2008). Stevens (1987) and Winowiski (1998) compared the pellet durability of corn-containing diets which was replaced with wheat.
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