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University of Alberta gets US$1.6 million for petfood extruder

The University of Alberta is getting a US$1.6 million Wenger X-115 single-screw extruder to include as part of the school's new animal nutrition and ingredient development program.

The extruder processes meats and grains, and is capable of shearing cell walls, cooking, mixing, texturizing and shaping animal feed. Ingredients will be fed into the machine and treated with steam, friction and pressure, then squeezed through a die and cooled. Researchers will work with the industry to test combinations of ingredients, try to make kibble more palatable and healthy, increase its shelf life or improve the color.

The federal government’s Western Economic Diversification program, the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Champion Petfoods and Elmira Pet Products are funding the extruder’s purchase. The machine, to be housed in the university’s Agri-Food Discovery Place, is a scaled-down version of industrial equipment and will be the only machine of its kind being used for research at a university in Canada.

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