Articles by Greg Aldrich, PhD

Riboflavin: golden yellow heart of a pet’s metabolism

A key nutrient, riboflavin (vitamin B2) lies at the very heart of a dog or cat’s metabolism and health
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is one of those vitamins we don’t hear much about in petfood production. Unlike with several other vitamins, the requirement for dogs and cats has been relatively well researched, it hasn’t been implicated in unfounded controversy and petfood manufacturers fortify foods to the necessary level with relative ease.
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Bones: a not-so-novel source of essential pet nutrients

Niche categories as well as conventional petfoods increasingly depend on bone to meet many pet nutrient needs.
In human foods, bones have long been a staple for making ingredients like soup stock and gelatin; however, people don’t often eat bones directly. Rather, any bone that lands on our plates as a function of eating a steak, drumstick or chop often ends up being discarded or shared with the family pets.
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Bisphenol A: incidental non-ingredient

For petfood, the issue is its use in the epoxy resin that lines the inside of cans
In the production of petfoods—no different than human foods—there are a number of compounds that make their way into the food that aren’t a part of the formula/recipe or stated on the ingredient listing. This is nothing underhanded or disingenuous, merely a function of the process, package and regulations.
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Guar gum’s invisible presence in petfood

Found in nearly every brand of wet petfood, this ingredient is a real behind-the-scenes aid to the canning process
Guar gum is a common, but nearly invisible, ingredient in petfoods. It is found in almost every brand of wet petfood, whether marketed at a farm-and-fleet, grocery, big-box, indie or boutique store. However, you won’t find this ingredient on the shelf by itself at your local grocery, and it has low recognition with consumers.
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Tapioca: A novel starch source for petfood

This ingredient has become especially prevalent in no-grain and elimination diets
In the search for more novel ingredients to use in petfood, a new starch source, tapioca, has begun to find its way into some specialty foods. This ingredient has become especially prevalent in no-grain and “elimination” diets.
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PCB and dioxin: side effects of our industrialized world

A recent incident in Germany reminds us that these contaminants have the potential to enter our raw material stream
This column is usually reserved for a review of the various features of a specific ingredient used in petfoods. But this issue, the focus is on a class of contaminants that periodically find their way into food and feed for humans and animals. 
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Potassium chloride: popular potassium source for petfoods

Potassium chloride is nutritionally effective, reasonably priced and readily available
When balancing the macro-mineral portion of a petfood, calcium and phosphorus are usually the first priority, magnesium seldom requires adjustment, and sodium and chloride, if inadequate, are easily met with a pinch of salt (sodium chloride). All that remains is potassium.
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Pea fiber: a functional petfood ingredient

With a label-friendly name, pea fiber offers an effective, reasonable alternative fiber source for companion animal diets
Pea fiber can be found in an increasing number of petfoods, especially in the premium, holistic and alternative format products. This ingredient is relatively new to petfoods and may be a strategic addition to counteract a growing consumer discontent with beet pulp and an absolute resistance to any of the functional fibers derived from wheat (e.g., bran), corn (corn bran) or soy (soyhulls)—all commonly perceived as cheap fillers. While this impression about the functional utility of these standard fibers is a long way from the truth, it certainly underscores that consumer perception rules the day.
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Why is rye rarely used in petfood?

There are no substantial technical, nutritional or performance issues associated with rye that would limit its use for pets
Rye is a fairly common ingredient in human foods and beverages. The most prevalent occurrence is in crackers and breads. Be it a light American rye, a dark German rye, heavy whole-grain pumpernickel rye or a slightly bitter rye with caraway, rye gets its share of notoriety in baked goods.
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Calcium carbonate: safe, effective, economical for pet diets

This is the ingredient most often used for vital calcium fortification.
Calcium is a vital nutrient for growth and sustained pet health. It is a principal structural component of bone and teeth, facilitates blood clotting binding-proteins, serves as a key conductor of nerve signals, initiates muscle contractions, activates select physiological enzymes and buffers pH changes.
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