Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

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A Review of Environmental Impacts of Cereal Grain Supply Chains

2023-01-30 , Larkin, Andrew , Schulte, Abigail , Rosentrater, Kurt , Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering , Food Science and Human Nutrition , Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture , Center for Crops Utilization Research

The global reliance upon cereal grains, not only for domestic consumption, but also for export in international markets continues to be critical to many countries’ economies. The ecological impacts of the various steps along the supply chain required to get product to the consumer, whether it be fuel, feed, or food, have significant environmental impacts. Ecological assessments have focused historically upon carbon footprints, but by considering other measures of life cycle assessments (LCA), we can come to a better understanding of the environmental significance that some of the most critical crops in our world have. The goal of this study was to compile environmental impact data from published literature and conduct synthesis to determine ecological trends. Published data was compiled and analyzed to determine where critical environmental shortcomings were in the cereal grain industry. Analysis of these data will enable recommendations to be made concerning the weaker spots in supply chains (i.e., more environmentally impactful). In addition, by expanding the geographic locations to an international scale, this study will allow for environmental impacts to be assessed based on various approaches found across the globe. As long as our world continues to place significant emphasis on cereal grains as foundations for societies, we need to better understand the ramifications of these critical crops' ecological impacts and how best to address them.

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Extraction Methods of Oils and Phytochemicals from Seeds and Their Environmental and Economic Impacts

2021-10-16 , Lavenburg, Valerie M. , Jung, Stephanie , Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering , Food Science and Human Nutrition , Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture , Center for Crops Utilization Research , Biorenewable Resources and Technology , Environmental Science

Over recent years, the food industry has striven to reduce waste, mostly because of rising awareness of the detrimental environmental impacts of food waste. While the edible oils market (mostly represented by soybean oil) is forecasted to reach 632 million tons by 2022, there is increasing interest to produce non-soybean, plant-based oils including, but not limited to, coconut, flaxseed and hemp seed. Expeller pressing and organic solvent extractions are common methods for oil extraction in the food industry. However, these two methods come with some concerns, such as lower yields for expeller pressing and environmental concerns for organic solvents. Meanwhile, supercritical CO2 and enzyme-assisted extractions are recognized as green alternatives, but their practicality and economic feasibility are questioned. Finding the right balance between oil extraction and phytochemical yields and environmental and economic impacts is challenging. This review explores the advantages and disadvantages of various extraction methods from an economic, environmental and practical standpoint. The novelty of this work is how it emphasizes the valorization of seed by-products, as well as the discussion on life cycle, environmental and techno-economic analyses of oil extraction methods.

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Pellet Quality of Corn-Based DDGS

2021 , Ma, Mingjun , Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering , Food Science and Human Nutrition , Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture , Biorenewable Resources and Technology , Environmental Science , Center for Crops Utilization Research

The rapid growth of corn-based dry grind ethanol plants over the past decade in the US has resulted in a great increase in production of the coproduct DDGS (distillers dried grains with solubles). Since some physical properties like low bulk density and poor flowability can impact the market potential of DDGS, pelleting of DDGS can be one of the easiest ways to improve this situation. Pellet quality is the focus of this project. The pelleting process was conducted with three initial DDGS moisture contents and two different dies; a total of six runs were complete d to produce DDGS pellets. The physical qualities of pelleted DDGS were determined by measuring durability bulk density angle of repose and color of the pellets. The results showed that the durability ranged from 42% to 89%, the highest pellet durability occurred when the moisture c ontent was 20% db and the die diameter was 1/8 in. The bulk density increased when the DDGS moisture content decreased, and the highest bulk density was observed when the moisture content was 10% db and the die diameter was 1/8 in