USA - Kansas State University begins construction on O. H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center

All traditional feed processes will be included as well as novel processes for aquaculture feed, companion and zoo animal food production and research
July 18, 2012

Construction has begun on the  O. H. Kruse Feed Technology Innovation Center  at Kansas State University. The facility is being built within the new Department of Grain Science and Industry complex on the Kansas State University (KSU), Manhattan, Kansas, campus and will be co-managed by the Grain Science & Industry Department and the Department of Animal Sciences & Industry. The Department of Animal Sciences and Industry has the second largest undergraduate animal science teaching program in the nation and is a dominant player among Land Grant universities particularly in the areas of livestock nutrition and the effect of feed processing on nutritional performance. In addition to serving undergraduate and graduate students, thousands of feed industry professionals have participated in educational short courses and seminars conducted by the FSM program, according to grain science professor emeritus, Keith Behnke.

The mill will be home to the university’s Feed Science and Management program, which has provided more than 700 graduates to the U.S. feed manufacturing industry over the nearly 60 years since the feed industry helped to establish the program at K-State. The new mill also will provide for all of the research diets needed by the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry on its livestock research farms.

The design of the new O.H Kruse Feed Mill and Bio-Refinery Teaching and Research Facility will be flexible and multi-purpose. The primary design criteria are to develop a world-class teaching and research facility that will serve the needs of its students, scientists, faculty, and industry stakeholders. 

All traditional feed processes will be included as well as novel processes for aquaculture feed, companion and zoo animal food production and research. Substantial emphasis has been placed on the capability to conduct research, teaching and outreach training on food and feed safety and biosecurity issues related to animal agriculture. In addition, sufficiently large grain storage capacity will be included to facilitate grain quality preservation and improvement research and outreach training. Space will also be included for a bio-refinery that will be equipped to allow for extensive research and development on cellulosic biofuels (ethanol, bio-diesel) and bio-materials. A pilot-scale solvent extraction system is planned to meet the demand for training and research by the oilseed crush and bio-oil refining industry.

Science and Education Wing

The capabilities of the new feed mill, bio-refinery and grain handling facility will be greatly enhanced with the inclusion and attachment of the planned Science and Education Wing. The modern 9,000+ ft2, three-level facility will house laboratories, meeting rooms, offices and related space to serve the students, staff and faculty within the Feed and Grain Science programs as well as industry stakeholders. One of the analytical laboratories in the Science and Education Wing will be certified and licensed as a Bio-Safety Level 2 (BSL-2) analytical laboratory that will allow sample analysis and scientific research with various microorganisms (including mycotoxins) and low-level pathogens, such as Salmonella spp., on site.

Food and feed safety and biosecurity are currently significant issues in animal agriculture and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Attention has been focused on feed as a potential vector for pathogens into food animals and must be addressed. Both the proposed BSL-2 pilot feed mill (see below) in the O.H. Kruse Feed Mill and Biorefinery Teaching and Research Facility and the BSL-2 analytical laboratory in the Science and Education Wing will be able to accommodate basic and applied research with these pathogens in a safe and controlled manner. Currently, this capability simply does not exist in the United States. A second laboratory will be designated to allow for grain, feed and ingredient quality research and teaching which will provide the capability to do QA/QC work for the feed mill, bio-refinery and grain handling facility as well as provide service for internal and external clients.

The Science and Education Wing will also house the grain and feed science program-related faculty, staff and students. This will provide the opportunity for interaction among faculty, staff and students of all ranks in a professional and state-of-the-art learning environment.

The Science and Education Wing will be the main public entrance to the feed mill and, as such, will be the display area for the AFIA/KSU Feed Manufacturing Hall of Fame. Currently there are eighteen feed industry professionals that have been elected to the Hall of Fame -- all of whom have made significant contributions to the past and current success of the global feed industry. Each inductee is represented by a beautiful bronze plaque with the individual’s likeness cast in bronze that will be prominently displayed in the entrance area to the Science and Education Wing.

Because the O.H Kruse Feed Mill and Bio-Refinery Teaching and Research Facility will be used extensively in teaching, the entire facility will be ADA-compliant. A personnel elevator will provide access to the second floor of the Science and Education Wing and, in the feed mill tower a full-height personnel/freight elevator will be available to handicapped students and visitors. 

In order to conduct controlled research with low-virulence pathogens that are sometimes found in livestock feeds, a portion of the feed mill tower will be designed, constructed and equipped such that certain pathogenic organisms can be safely and effectively studied without causing undue concern to the public and/or scientific community. The proposed Feed Safety Research Center will consist of a pilot feed mill that will be designed and built to BSL-2 specifications and include provisions for controlled access through an air-lock door system, negative air pressure control, HEPA air filtration system, stainless steel construction where needed, and open and Clean-in-Place (CIP) designs for conveyors and fixed equipment. Heat-up capability such that the entire BSL-2 facility can be raised to a minimum of 140°F and held for 24 hours with little human intervention will be designed into the structure for additional microbial control. This self-contained pilot feed mill laboratory will contain small but production-sized equipment such as mixers, a pellet mill, a long-term conditioner and a pellet cooler. Additional equipment such as extruders and other process equipment can be installed on a temporary basis for pathogen research on-demand. An incinerator will be installed to facilitate burning of contaminated feed and research material for microbial control.

One of the areas of investigation that the new NBAF federal laboratory has announced as a high priority is the development of direct-fed vaccines for both domestic livestock and wildlife. It is expected that the Feed Safety Research Center will be a critical link in the development of technology to produce feeds that contain live or modified-live virus vaccines. Again, there are no facilities in the entire U.S. with the capability of producing feeds containing direct-fed vaccines but the proposed Feed Safety Research Center will certainly have that capability and will serve as a test site for new technology development. When direct-fed vaccines are sufficiently developed and approved, the facility will be able to provide tremendous guidance for commercial companies wishing to produce these vaccines.

To support the Feed Safety Research Center, the Science and Education Wing will contain a BSL-2 microbiological analytical laboratory that will be fully capable of conducting specific pathogen studies to determine level of contamination and presence of pathogens, providing adequate quantities of pathogen cultures for use in the Feed Safety Research Center, and to evaluate the results of specific studies conducted in the Center. 

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