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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

2009 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The goal of this agreement is to carryout a collaborative research effort among PBARC, The College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM) at the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH), and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) that addresses important agriculture problems in Hawaii. The specific problem to address is determined through consultation and agreement among the agriculture college deans of CAFNRM and CTAHR and the director of PBARC. The main objective of this SCA is to evaluate the usefulness of regionally grown feedstock for aquaculture and livestock.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
In 2002, congress provided a set amount of funds to PBARC with the mandate that the funds should be split three ways among CAFNRM, CTAHR, and PBARC. The intent is to develop a mutually beneficial collaborative research effort that is formulated by the deans and the director of PBARC. The deans of CAFNRM and CTAHR, and the director of PBARC met and agreed to develop a research effort to evaluate the usefulness of regionally grown feedstock and co-products for aquaculture and livestock. Each institute would focus on research areas in which they have strengths and which would move the institutions closer to achieving the stated objective. To carryout the research plan, each dean will put out a call for proposals to their respective colleges for grant proposals to address the objective over a five year period. The proposals will be reviewed and selected by the deans and the director of PBARC, and any advisors that they may choose. To ensure that the research is focused on the objective and to assess progress, the investigators of the selected grants, the deans, and the director will meet annually to evaluate the work. Following the annual meeting, changes in the research personnel or focus may take place if needed. PBARC will have a research effort towards this objective but it will not have a call for proposals since the funds originally allocated to PBARC became part of their base budget. To maintain a degree of flexibility, the deans may use a small part of the funds to support other projects that may not be directly related to the main objective.

3. Progress Report
Value-added Processing of Sugarcane-Ethanol Vinasse: Production of Protein-rich fungal Biomass as a Fish Feed Ingredient: Rapidly increasing production of biofuel generates significant amounts of low-value residues/wastes which pose significant burden on emerging biofuel industries. Value-added processing of such residues/wastes is extremely important for economic viability of biofuel industries. For sugarcane producing states, including Hawaii, there are considerable efforts toward developing cane sugar ethanol biorefinery. Sugar-based ethanol plants generate a considerable amount of vinasse (8-15 liters per liter of ethanol), the leftovers of fermentation/distillation. Vinasse is rich in organic matter with a chemical oxygen demand of about 130 g/L and the highly acidic stream with an initial pH of 4.0-4.5 makes it an ideal feedstock for fungal cultivation. In this study, the food-grade fungus Rhizopus microsporus var. oligosporus was cultivated using dilute vinasse as the substrate. Preliminary data in shaker flask experiments showed that vinasse sustained fungal growth under non-sterile conditions. The soluble chemical oxygen demand (SCOD) removal of up to 48 % was obtained in seven days. The effluent after fungal biomass separation has a potential to be recycled as process water with minimal treatment. The fungal biomass could be utilized as protein-rich aquaculture feeds. Fungal processing may increases the revenue of the residue, vinasse, resulting in improved profitability for ethanol industries as current market value of fishmeal are close to $800 per dry ton. Pasteurization of Kava Juice using a Nobel Continuous Flow Magnetron Microwave System: The developed continuous flow microwave pasteurizer for kava juice will provide a rational approach for alternating the traditional heating method and enhancing the microbial quality of kava juice while maintaining the overall taste. Unpasteurized kava drinks have a shelf life of less than three days with refrigeration at 4°C. Kava beverage has a high starch content, kavalactones that gels upon heating at or above the required traditional pasteurization temperature. The developed pasteurization technique is expected (1) to maintain the outlet temperature of kava products below the threshold value for kavalactones degradation and (2) to still acquire significant microbial reductions after treatment due to strong wave functions. Therefore, we can extend the shelf life of kava juice product to 5-7 days at the refrigeration temperature. The developed microwave pasteurizer is portable, easy to use with a minimum training, continuous, and high energy efficient (only 500W power requirement) so that small farmers and operations will enable to produce safe, high quality juice products with maximized profits at local markets. Also Unpasteurized or under-pasteurized kava juice products produced by small producers would be a high risk for the consumers, especially for children and elderly people; thus, the broader impact of this project can include its anticipated contribution to our public health. ADODR monitored this project meetings with cooperator, progress reports, emails and phone calls.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 2/23/2016
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