Innovation That Matters

The apple waste also improved the chicken’s transport system for amino acids and the bioavailability of iron | Photo source Thomas Iversen on Unsplash

Feed made from apple waste could improve the health of chickens

Food & Drink

Apples are full of phytochemicals and prebiotics that proved to be very beneficial to the intestinal health of the birds

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Spotted: As one of the country’s most popular fruits, in 2021 the USA produced approximately 4.9 million tonnes of apples. But with all that consumption comes waste, and when fruits like apples end up in landfill, the rotting process can also release methane into the atmosphere. Instead of continuing to let all that juice and pulp go to waste, however, researchers from Cornell have found a way to make it useful, by improving the health of chickens.

The team, led by doctoral student Cydney Jackson, injected juice, pomace, and pulp from Empire apples – a type of apple developed by Cornell in the 1940s – into the amniotic fluid of chicken eggs before they hatched.

The results showed that the apple waste improved the overall health of chickens, including boosting the microbial populations in the birds’ large intestines and supporting the growth of good gut bacteria. Instead of discarding this fruit waste, which is still full of nutrients, the scientists have shown that it can be integrated into chicken feed to improve its nutritional value naturally, without the use of chemicals.

Although the researchers cite the need for further studies, these initial findings are promising and could provide a solution that reduces waste while improving the health of livestock.

Increasingly, scientists are looking at thrown-away food as problem-solving tools, as opposed to useless by-products. Springwise has also spotted a preservative coating made from passion fruit, and the transforming of food waste into animal feed and fertiliser.

Written By: Matilda Cox



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