Cashew nut shell is turning into functional feed

Cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL), a byproduct of cashew nut production, contains phenolic compounds, represented by anacardic acid, cardanol and cardol, which are all salicylic acid derivatives with a C-15 alkyl group. These phenolic compounds, especially anacardic acid, are reported to inhibit a variety of bacteria through the surface-acting action. We have found the selective inhibition of bacteria and archaea in the rumen (the first stomach of ruminant animals) by CNSL that dramatically alters rumen microbial community and fermentation profiles. Methane production was decreased (20-30%), while propionate production was increased (30-50%) when CNSL was fed to cattle and sheep. Because methane emission (via belches) is considered as a loss of feed energy (up to 12% of gross feed energy) and a contributor of global warming (ca. 20% of global methane emission), mitigation of such methane might promise animal production with higher efficiency and greener future. A new functional feed containing CNSL has been developed and delivered to farmers in July, 2012, under the support of scientific evidences.  

Yasuo Kobayashi, Professor of Animal Nutrition and Gut Microbiology

                                     Cashew nut shell                         Cashew nut shell liquid

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