Source: UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA submitted to
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Sep 1, 2019
Project End Date
Aug 31, 2023
Grant Year
Project Director
Fonseca, M. A.
Recipient Organization
RENO,NV 89557
Performing Department
Agriculture, Nutrition and Vet
Non Technical Summary
Small and medium-sized farms are often located in the vicinity of urban areas where they struggle with high land prices and opportunity costs, high costs of feedstuff and lack of information on alternatives feeds that could enhance their competitiveness. The exponential increase of the craft brewer industry has contributed to the increase and availability of brewers' spent grains which constitute a potential alternative feeding venue to unload the market competitive burden. Moreover, once combined with on-farm available resources, those by-products could help farmers to reduce production costs. This three-year project has the overarching goal of working with small and medium farms in developing new models to assist ranch owners/managers on the decision making to improve efficiency, viability and sustainability of their operational. The specific objectives involve activities such as evaluation of nutritive and biological value of nutrients contained in different craft brewers' spent grain by-products, either fed alone and with other on-farm feeding resources associating such findings with animal performance; analyzing cost-benefit for the utilization of craft brewer's spent grains, optimal levels of dietary inclusion, investigating potential grow-local and niche market, and unravel what changes in fatty acid profile in animal carcass are likely to occur. It is also an objective to improve communication between producers and feed suppliers (craft breweries). Data acquired will provide additional information to producers regarding improving livestock efficiency by feeding brewers' grains. Furthermore, nutritional value information and animal performance related to spent grains will reduce industry waste and livestock cost for small medium-sized farms in America. The anticipated impact is related to the development of highly qualified students; establishing leverage network between stakeholders; to determine nutritional information of different brewers' spent grain; and to provide workshops and field tours to increase knowledge of producers around the state.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
This project will work directly with small to medium-sized farms in developing new models to assist ranch owners/managers on the decision making to enhance efficiency, viability and sustainability of their operations through exploring available feed resources in the vicinities of urban areas. More specifically, this integrated standard project will establish models and methods for using craft brewers' spent grains from small and medium-sized breweries for animal feedstock. The supporting objectives for the standard integrated project are to: measure digestive characteristics of different craft brewers' spent grain byproducts and on-farm feeding resources and quantify their effects on animal growth performance; to determine the most effective combination of brewers' spent grains and on-farm resources for animal feeding in urban areas; to evaluate impacts on animal performance and farm profitability according to substitution levels defined; to analyze the potential to improve nutritional quality of beef by increasing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA); to increase the capacity of Nevada small to medium-sized farms to utilize Microbreweries brewers' spent grains and on-farm feeding resources as an opportunity to retain ownership of livestock as additional source of income; to investigate potential grow-local and niche markets for the value added products created as a result of utilizing spent grains.
Project Methods
Chemical and bromatological analyses will unravel important information for the upcoming trials involving In vitro fermentation trials (digestive kinetics) and biological interpretation of non-linear dynamics of rumen fermentation. Data mining, statistical pattern analysis, parallel computing, multivariate analysis, statistical modelling (mixed modelling approaches) will be used to analyze and interpret the findings. In situ screening (rumen incubation to assess degradability of feedstuffs) will also be performed along with data mining, statistical pattern analysis, multivariate analysis, cluster analysis that will be needed for feeding trials. Over the feeding trials data on feed intake, orts, days on feed, apparent digestibility (fecal and urinary collections); initial and final body weight, feed conversion and efficiency, days on feed, average daily gain, composition of gain, prediction of growth, biometric measures, image analysis, blood sample collection, metabolic and physiological profiling (hormones). Upon harvesting, the M. longissimus dorsi et lumborum will be excised from each loin and steaks will be fabricated for further analysis. For sensory analysis, steaks will be evaluated for tenderness, connective tissue, juiciness and off-flavor intensity. Steaks will be displayed for 5 days and objective color (L*, a* and b*) will be evaluated. In addition, visual discoloration will be subjectively evaluated. Moisture, fat, and ash contents will be evaluated. Fatty acid profile will be analyzed by Gas Chromatography aiming to quantify polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) content and other major fatty acids. Lipid oxidation will be quantified by using the Thiobarbituric Acid Assay (TBA). The team will hold 2 focus groups for perceptions and attitudes of small to medium sized farm beef producers. Breweries will be engaged and will be exposed to advisory group duties. The team will hold trainings at Wolf Pack Meats with producers and microbreweries to discuss supply and demand issues. The team will use current knowledge, research results, and input from producers to identify financial pros and cons of utilizing feeding mixtures. Extension workshops in different parts of the state after research is complete will be performed as outreach of entire project. Field day with local breweries to investigate if they would purchase local meat that was finished with their brewers' grains. Significant efforts will be made to measure program impacts. Knowledge gains and desired changes in attitudes, prompting changes in behavior comprise short-term and medium-term impacts. Short-term and medium-term impact evaluation instruments will include pre-test and post-test questions administered during workshops and tours. A series of questions will be designed to first measure knowledge gains, and secondly, measure changes in attitudes. Behavioral changes associated with participation will be measured through a retrospective e-survey of workshop participants conducted approximately 6 to 12 months following the workshops. Additionally, an instrument will be created for Cooperative Extension peers and producers to evaluate the research activities and provide feedback to researchers.To measure long-term impacts, baseline production and economic data will be collected concerning the utilization of brewers' spent grains at a national level to a local level. This evaluation will assess knowledge and attitudes before project intervention. A retrospective evaluation will be designed and implemented with project participants immediately following extension programs and then approximately 6 to 12 months following workshops in order to measure changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors as a result of the workshops, research, mentorships and outreach efforts.

Progress 09/01/20 to 08/31/21

Target Audience:The target audience for the second year of the project included undegraduate and graduate students that were trainned innutrition methods to measure livestock impact on sistainability of small to medium sized farms through regular curriculum for in class intruction(e.g.: Advanced Nutrition Management) and research experiences. The outreach methods suffered severed disruption do to the COVID-19 pandemic withmajor events (e.g.: Nevada Field Day and CABNR-Fit) being cancelled. Changes/Problems:Challenges in distribution and production of microbrewer's spent grains was severely affected with the global challenges and supply chain disruption brought with the Covid-19 pandemic. In an attempt to preserve the wellbeing of small producers and still be able to address our project long-term goal and supporting objectives of increasing the sustainability of Nevada's small to medium-size livestock producers by increasing their ability to mix feed resources and utilize spent grains, we allocated grain distribution for our experiment to partner producers and we are collecting meat for meat quality analysis as they are harvesting their animals finished with our spent grains of interest. In addition to that, we used a similar diet in our feedlot for one recently finished animal performance trial where we compared the similar grains fed in a diet before undergoing the beer making with the animals fed spent grains. Animals in our experimental feedlot were also implanted or not implanted to answer the question if perceived additional gain of animal performance acquired by using hormonal implants would be a feasible strategy for small producers in order to enhance resource-use efficiency, viability and sustainability of their operations through mixing available feed resources. Our in person meetings had to be postponed given the limitation and policies regulating social gatherings and vacinations disputes. Most of our clientele do not use virtual meetings as alternative to in person. We do expect that, with mandates being lifted, we will be able to have our planned workhips and trainings during the following report period. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Students both undergraduate and graduate were trainned in a varietal of nutrition methods pertaining to fatty acid quantification. Specifically, graduate students were trainned in field trials and laboratory procedures. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?Presentation on the annual meeting of the American Society of Animal Sciences, publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Expand data regarding digestive characteristics spent grain by products and on-farm resources for animal growth performance Expand data regarding effectiveness of utilization of spent grains and on-farm feeding resources available for animal feeding Determine the effects of feeding brewers' grains and on-farm resources on sensory attributes, color stability, lipid oxidation, and lipid and fatty acid content. Writing manuscripts and submission for peer review. Present the data generated in this projectat the annual meeting of the American Society of Animal Science. Identify perceptions and attitudes and if small to medium sized beef producers believe they have the ability to utilize brewers' grains. Meet withadvisory group that will design spent grain and on-farm resources feeding mixes. Expand relationships between Microbreweries and small to medium sized farm beef producers. Expand data on enterprise budgets utilizing on-farm feeding resources and brewers' grains Educate producers on cuts and ability to supply grow-local markets that will be created by utilizing brewers' grains.

What was accomplished under these goals? For this reporting period we have performed: Expansion of chemical and bromatological analysis and spent grains library Biological interpretation of non-linear dynamics of rumen fermentation Expansion on data mining, statistical pattern analysis, multivariate analysis, statistical and computer modelling Expansion of in vitro and in situ screening (digestive kinetics) Finished collections on intake (dry matter and water), orts, days on feed Apparent digestibility (Fecal and urine collections), animal performance field trial (data on: body weight gain, feed conversion and efficiency, days on feed, average daily gain, composition of gain, prediction of growth, biometric measures, image analysis, ultrasound,carcass quality and yield evaluation,etc.) Blood sample collection for metabolic and physiological profiling Specifically, the year-round schedule of activities was as follows: September 2020 ~ Training/execution: Long chain fatty acid analysis of grains evaluation in two gas chromatograph systems for method development October 2020 ~ Training/execution: Long chain fatty acid analysis of grains evaluation in two gas chromatograph systems for method development November 2020 ~ Training: Long chain fatty acid analysis of grains evaluation in two gas chromatograph systems for method development Optimized method for 35-minute analysis of all LCFA's of interest developed and adopted, near half time improvement from previous method (70 Minutes, AOAC Method 996.06) 37 fatty acid methyl esters (FAME)including methyl linoleate detectable under this procedure December 2020 ~ Animal Receival, backgrounding grass-fed experiment Implementation of additional clustering technique in principal components hierarchical clustering (PCHC) to determine nutrient groups of interest (PC) that can be clustered (HC) to better examine grouping techniques January 2021 ~ Animal procurement, backgrounding and preparation for performance experiment Purchasing implants to be used for animals in the animal trial Development of hierarchical cluster analysis of the principal components (HCPC) clusters comparing FAME PC HC to nutrient composition from proximate analysis HCPC from grain cluster varietals Determined energy variation observed lead to different clusters generated from the analysis based on FAME analysis February 2021 ~ Animal Trial adaptation to facilities Formulation of diets to match grains with microbrewer's spent grains incorporation March 2021 ~ Manuscript Preparation Animal trial adaptation of animals purchasing and preparation of diet purchasing collection materials for experiment (biopsy materials, chemicals for analysis, vacutainers, rumen fluid collection sampling system, ...) BuiltIn-vitro gastric digestion system, and gassing chamber for in-vitro analysis of brewer's grains clusters April 2021 ~ Manuscript Preparation Begin intensive experimental phase and facility preparation Build In-vitro gastric digestion system, and gassing chamber for in-vitro analysis of brewer's grains clusters May 2021 ~ Manuscript Submitted for principal component hierarchical cluster analysis of microbrewer's spent grains from proximate chemistry. Macias-Franco, A., Silva, A.E.M., Moura, M., F.H., A. de Mello, Fonseca, M., 2021. Animal Feed Science and Technology. Classification of spent microbreweries grains varietals through multivariate analysis (submitted May 2021, being expanded as of November 2021). Experimental period for animal performance trial Build In-vitro monogastric system, and gassing chamber for in-vitro analysis of brewer's grains clusters June 2021 ~ Experimental period for animal performance trial Build In-vitro monogastric system, and gassing chamber for in-vitro analysis of brewer's grains clusters July 2021 ~ Experimental period for field trials and collections August 2021 ~ Experimental period for field trials and collections


  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2021 Citation: Arturo Macias Franco, Aghata Elins Moreira da Silva, Felipe Henrique de Moura, Karin Van den Broek, Aaron B Norris, Serena Breanne Roloson, Morgan Valcheck, Mozart Fonseca, PSXIII-9 Effects of lipid and starch isoenergetic supplementation as mitigation techniques on water footprint and health of nursing Holstein calves, Journal of Animal Science, Volume 99, Issue Supplement_3, November 2021, Pages 462⿿463, Acknowledgement available in the published poster. Login is required.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2021 Citation: MACIAS-FRANCO, A., SILVA, A. E. M., MOURA, F. H., NORRIS, A. B., VAN DEN BROEK, K., VALCHECK, M., MELLO, A., FONSECA, M. A. 2021. Effects of lipid and starch supplementation as water intake mitigation techniques on performance and efficiency of Nursing Holstein Calves. Translational Animal Science, txab103,

Progress 09/01/19 to 08/31/20

Target Audience:The targeted audience for this year of the project included undergraduate, graduate students, and postdocs on the training of novel nutrition methods to measure livestock impact on sustainability of small to medium sized farms. The outreach methods included the classroom/lab instruction adding silage making and feed evaluation of craft brewer's spent grains for the curriculum of Advanced Nutrition Management, a section on animal feeding for CABNR-Fit designed for freshmen students, and Nevada Field Day for the attending community. Changes/Problems:The targeted audience was trained year-round uninterruptedly until march 2020. This is when restrictions for assessing research facilities prevented the continuation of the regular research and extension schedules. For the first semester of 2020 all activities have had a major delayed caused by the inability to assess facilities (e.g.: laboratories and university buildings) due to university' and state regulations generated by the pandemic limitations. The pandemic has also disrupted the work load of the micro-breweries participating which also had their production schedules disrupted. Hence, collections of the spent grains have become more difficult due to product availability. Luckily, we were able to collect enough material to run the research needed for fulfilling the objectives herein proposed before the shutdown. Ultimately, with the escalation of the pandemic, administrative hardship was imposed in our personnel. Remote working and multiple instances offices closed due to positive tests for COVID-19 have also delayed our reporting capabilities. Slowly, the situation is resuming to the new normal and the project directors believe that the overall success of the project is independent of what limitations may occur due to the pandemic. Moreover, the project directors believe that the adaptations needed at this point are very feasible to accomplish. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?During this first year of the project the personnel involved (targeted audience) were able to advanced their professional skills and experience on nutrition methods which include chemical evaluation of the spent grains, in vitro evaluation to assess nutritional value and in situ evaluation for estimation of degradation profiles of these craft brewers' spent products. The professional development of the postdoc was ultimately successful with this person being able to move forward in academia and start a new role as afaculty in another institution. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?Thus far through one-on-one and group training for graduate students and postdoc, regular class instruction for undergraduates and field day for the community. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Conduct focus groups meetings, expand chemical analysis, in vitro evaluation, in situ trials and start an in vivo trial. Organize two training sections with producers and microbreweries to discuss supply and demand issues. Start analyzing economic feasibility of using craft brewer's spent grains. Together these topics will additionally address supporting objectives: 2) to determine most effective combination of spent grains and on-farm resources; 3) evaluate impacts on performance and farm profitability; 4) potential to include nutritional status of beef based on PUFA; 5) retention of ownership; 6) potential growth of niche markets.

What was accomplished under these goals? Within this first year of the project we contributed to a change of knowledge by increasing knowledge in feeding management and how to combine craft brewers' spent grains with on-farm resources based on the uniqueness of those products. We have also increased the knowledge regarding the nutritional values of craft brewers' spent grains as well as advanced our basic and applied knowledge on the enhancement of nutrient utilization of these products. The supporting objective #1 (digestive characteristics of spent grains on farm resources and effects on animal growth performance) have been the focus of this first year. For that We collected brewers' spent grains from all breweries available in the Reno-Sparks metro area and performed chemical analysis and nutrient characterization building a library guideline for producers who want to utilize brewer's spent grains in their farm operation and to facilitate networking among potential feed suppliers (Brewery owners and producers). This library includes all the chemical analysis performed for the portfolio of individual brewers' spent grains for a given brewery which should be shared with producers utilizing these grains. The library sheet includes a guideline for the interpretation of the chemical analysis as applied to feeding it to livestock animals. We developed and compared different drying mechanisms in order to increase shelf -life of collected products due to risk of spoilage. Overall, we compared conventional oven drying, draft oven drying, and air drying techniques. The development of appropriate ensiling is currently underway and we believe it will be very useful for the logistics of collecting and storing these products for the ranchers using it. We have tested conventional oven which was found to be cost prohibitive and often led to "browning" of grains if not carefully monitored; also draft oven: though draft oven drying was better than conventional oven drying due to reduced mold loss and browning, draft ovens are cost prohibitive for many small producers. Air drying (mat on floor) proved to be extremely efficient due to our dry and high heat conditions. Careful considerations rely on the management of molding loss, as well as pest/rodent/avian losses of grains. Overall, air drying proved our second best drying method if the environmental conditions permit. We also tested a second method of air drying using a custom-built tables lined with wire mesh above and below). This method allowed for air to flow below and under the grain and allowed for drying of grain in 48-72 hours, similar times to draft oven drying. Overall, this method proved cost-effective and efficient in drying, and therefore, this was our preferred drying technique. This far, some of the grains dried have over a year of shelf-life and have not decrease their nutritonal value. We have also used the composition of the grains utilized for producing the many beer varieties to generate about 20 nutrient clusters that will help nutritionists while performing precision diet formulation to optimize the objectives of their nutrition plan. Roughly 30 varietals were used to generate these multivariate clustering using unsupervised machine learning algorithms. By using K-means clustering, and hierarchical clustering we narrowed the proximate analysis to four main clustering criterion: neutral detergent fiber (NDF), ether extract (EE), crude protein (CP), and non-fibrous carbohydrates (NFC). Respectively, we selected these nutrients due to their representation as fibrous feed, lipid feed, protein feed, and soluble carbohydrate as they would be fundamental in characterizing what kind of nutrients one could use craft brewer's spent grains to suffice or define strategies for customize feeding. Data were analyzed with both K means and hierarchical clustering. Validation of clusters was evaluated in both clustering methods. With regards to hierarchical clustering, both the DIANA and the AGNES algorithms were generated and compared through tanglegram (comparison of two dendograms). Clustering algorithms generated extremely varied groupings with only 18% of the grain styles being classified similarly which supports the hypothesis that indeed there is a considerable variability among craft brewery spent products and that one could use these variations in order to customize their animal's products that could be potentially marketed in this fashion. Both K-means, clustering and hierarchical clustering were reported and both methods appear to be acceptable. Based upon these findings the next round of nutritional evaluations has commenced with the combination of other available local resources. The results from these clusters will further allow the examination of fermentative characteristics from the different nutrient clusters generated, and lastly will help us formulate diets for feeding trials.