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University Patents, Licenses Cattle Feed Supplement

Cow's head (Agricultural Research Service, USDA)

(Agricultural Research Service, USDA)

Kansas State University in Manhattan received a patent and licensed a nutritional supplement for cattle feed developed by one of its faculty members. Research by animal sciences professor Jim Drouillard led to development of a supplement that improves absorption of omega-3 fatty acids beneficial to livestock, which Kansas State patented earlier this year and licensed to New Generation Feeds, a South Dakota animal feed manufacturer.

The supplement adapts a formula that combines precise concentrations of flax oil, flax seed, and a non-flax carbohydrate such as molasses. These ingredients, when heated to 120 degrees F and then cooled, has been shown to help test animals absorb alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, which is converted by the animals (and humans as well) to eicosapentaenoic acid.

Eicosapentaenoic acid is another type of omega-3 fatty acid that has benefits for cattle, including stimulation of growth, improved immunity against disease, and enhanced reproductive function. Drouillard’s research shows the supplement can raise those levels as much as 10 percent.

Cattle consume the supplement at will, from large highly-concentrated blocks placed in pastures, in what Drouillard calls “a big 250-pound piece of candy for livestock.” The physical properties of this delivery method restrict the consumption by animals to less than one pound per day.

Kansas State’s technology transfer office filed a patent for the discovery, which was awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to Drouillard and assigned to the university in February. New Generation Feeds licensed the technology from the university and developed the discovery into its FlaxLic line of supplements.

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