Current Projects

Production Systems

20-02 An alternative hide disposal strategy for Ontario processors using ambient alkaline hydrolysis

Research Lead: Dr. Brandon Gilroyed , University of Guelph

Executive Summary

With the closure of Barrett Hides in spring of 2019, small and medium sized meat processors in Ontario are facing a significant challenge in managing hide disposal. Increased costs associated with hide disposal may be passed back to livestock producers, or responsibility for managing the hides themselves, which would cost time and money. While new pathways for hide management may develop (e.g. foreign trade), a local solution that can be applied in the short-term to help alleviate this issue would be of benefit to meat processors and livestock producers, particularly in the beef sector.

We have been working with OMAFRA, Egg Farmers of Canada, and Chicken Farmers of Ontario on a livestock mortality management technology that we are calling "ambient alkaline hydrolysis" (AMAHY). Essentially, we use alkaline chemicals (e.g.potassium hydroxide) and water to solubilize mortalities. The liquid hydrolysate that results from this process can then be used as a substrate for anaerobic digestion (production of biogas) or land applied as fertilizer. We have done some very small-scale preliminary work to see if the process will work to solubilize cattle hides, working with Highgate Tender Meats, and the results show that the process works.

In this project we would like to evaluate the kinetics of the process and determine the logistical and economic feasibility of applying the technology to hide disposal, including piloting the process at Highgate.

Specific Project Area: Production Systems and Economic Research

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