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For years now, the waste from the wine production cycle has not been thrown away, but destined for other uses, including cosmetics, fabric coloring, energy production with pruning and so on. But now there are those who aim to give new life to the stalk of the bunch. Used by very few in winemaking, it could soon become food for ruminants. At least, that’s the goal of the NewFeed project, funded with almost 200,000 euros from the European Horizon 2020 program, as explained by one of the companies involved, the Spanish Neiker. Raspo which, Neiker points out, represents 1.4% to 7% of the initial raw material of the wine production cycle, and which must be enhanced with “innovative and sustainable solutions that help reuse this by-product with a circular economy approach”. Raspo which, on its own, is already edible for dairy cattle and sheep, for example, and thanks to the high content of polyphenols it could not only improve their health, but also their productivity. But there is the problem of digestibility, and improving this aspect is one of the objectives of this project.
“Currently, grape stalks are, at best, reused through composting. However, these wastes could also be reused as an ingredient in the feeding of ruminants, thanks to their high content of polyphenols, the use of which, formulated in adequate doses, can lead to an improvement in the production efficiency of these animals “, explains Aser García, researcher at Neiker’s Department of Animal Production.
However, the formulation of grape stalks as feed has a limit: its reduced digestibility. Therefore, in order to use this type of by-product in large proportions in the feeding of ruminants, the grape stalks must be processed, and what Neiker will do is aim at optimizing the enzymatic hydrolysis process, which is a chemical reaction catalyzed by an enzyme that uses water to break a molecule into two or more fractions, in order to improve the digestibility of grape stalks. “In the project, we will also establish the optimal levels to use in the diet of ruminants and we will evaluate the effect of grape stalks on various parameters such as production performance, milk quality and enteric methane emissions”, adds the expert of Neiker animal production. The project started in July 2021, and will close in December 2025.


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Marco Ribaudo

Marco Ribaudo

For the love of food and wine! Marco Ribaudo, Certified Sommelier, with 25 years in the food and beverage industry now invites you to join him in his latest adventure, the opening of la Cucina del Vino to share his culture and passion for creating unforgettable memories around the table.

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