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There's no ashes like ashes

22.02.2023 18:30

The word "ash" can be found on every food package. More than one of us wondered why such ash is added to the feed in the first place? Do the feed manufacturers want to save money on us, do they add residues to the feed as part of the production process, or do the chimney sweeps sell them soot from the chimneys? Or what is it really like? We've all come across this term at some point and been puzzled by it, but eventually we waved it off and figured that since this value is everywhere, it probably isn't dangerous and bought the feed. A few of us then sat down at home and started "googling" what the ash actually was. You who know = BINGO. And for those of you who aren't quite familiar with the word, we'll try to clarify the term for you.

 "Fly ash, coarse ash, etc." is the term that tells us how much mineral matter is in the feed. So why ash? It's simple. The mineral value is obtained after a certain amount of feed has been completely burnt. As we all know, you can't burn iron in a conventional fire. And therefore other minerals are not burnable either. Therefore, if we take, for example, 100 g of pellets, let them burn (under clearly defined conditions - see below*), and after burning we are left with 7 g of ash, the feed contains 7% ash (this value is then indicated on the packaging). So what can be included in the ash? For example, the already mentioned iron, but also calcium, sodium phosphorus, copper and other minerals.

In conclusion, ash is not added to the feed, but is part of the raw materials used in the feed. And as well as the protein content, we should therefore look at the ash content, which should not be high, but not low either (around 6-8% is the most common value today).

* The determination is done by flamelessly burning the sample in a ceramic crucible. The sample is first dried at 103°C for 24 hours and then burned at 550°C. The combustion is carried out until the sample is light grey to white in colour = ash appearance and hence the name "ashes".

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