The indiscriminate and unscientific disposal of sugarcane vinasse in soil and water bodies has received much attention since decades ago due to environmental problems associated to this practice. Vinasse is a waste material from distillery industries which contains organic and inorganic components, obtained during ethanol production from molasses. It is utilized in agriculture for cheap nutrients source, and animal feed binder. Vinasse contains high levels of organic matter, potassium, calcium and moderate amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. Vinasse is more compact than molasses and richer in nutrients than molasses. It can also be used as pellet binder for cattle feed which may reduce the requirement of molasses for lactating animals. So, molasses and vinasse based pellets may be utilized in lactating dairy ration to improve the milk production with less cost. Vinasse has been used in the liquid form in animal feeding. Its use as an additive has generally resulted in better feed conversion and increased body weight and growth in rabbits, sheep and other large ruminants. Hence, vinasse can be used up to 10% in ruminant diet for better performance with less cost.
India is a major producer of sugar in the world, having around 579 sugar mills and 285 distilleries and 2.7 billion liters of waste water produced as spent wash/vinasse/CMS/press mud per annum. It has a very high organic content, a high biological oxygen demand and considered as a serious environmental contaminant. Vinasse is a by-product from industrial production of yeasts, alcohol, citric acid or other substances by fermentation of molasses (Fernandez et al., 2009). It is light-brown to dark brown liquid which contains basically water (93%), organic solids and minerals (7%) that condensed to 60% (on wet basis) though, for production of each liter of ethanol 12-15 liter of water is used which cannot be recycled (Christofoletti et al., 2013). In cattle feed, vinasse could be used up to 10-15%. In growing pigs it could be used up to 30% , as in this case, it also serves as a protein replacement. There are disadvantages of using vinasse are higher viscosity and potassium level. Viscosity can be reduced by adding steam during processing but higher potassium is detrimental to the animals when consumed. CSIR-CMSCRI, Bhavnagar Gujarat, separated fertilizer grade potassium from the vinasse to such extant that it could be fed to the animals even higher level. Vinasse may exert deleterious effect on plant growth if the heavy metals are present in amount exceeding their toxicity limits due to higher application of spent wash (Srivastava and Jain 2011). Vinasse is otherwise pollutant to the soil and water but its use as feed at least up to 10% of concentrate mixture will reduce the feed cost and also protect environment. However, use of depotash-vinasse in livestock and poultry sector is still lacking and must be explored for plausible utilization to enhance productivity.
Advantage of sugarcane by-product utilization in India
In recent times, settings up industries based on the sugarcane by-products have several advantages. (i) The waste material can be converted into valuable products by adopting suitable technologies. (ii) It creates employment opportunity, especially in rural areas and in turn improves the economic status of people involved in these industries and (iii) The most important aspect of utilizing these by products is that it helps in minimizing the pollution hazards.
The estimated annual availability of major sugarcane by-products in India is shown below (Solomon 2011). At present sugarcane is used as sugar, ﬁber (cellulose), fuel (bagasse) and fodder (green tops, trash, molasses etc.) crop.
›› Bagasse = 75-90 million tons
›› Molasses = 10-12 million tons
›› Press mud = 8-10 million tons
›› Trash = 12-15 million tons
›› Tops and leaves = 40-50 million tons
Chemical composition of vinasses and molasses
Maneerat et al. (2015) and Zali et al. (2017) reported that the ultimate byproduct of distillery industry is vinasse. It is also called as spent wash, condensed molasses soluble (CMS). Depending upon the nature of molasses and chemicals used in manufacturing of ethanol, the composition of the distillery waste varies. The dry matter content of molasses (78.98%) was higher compared to vinasse (44-48%), however the crude protein (CP) and total ash (TA) content were relatively higher in vinasse than molasses. For vinasse the CP and TA content observed to be 6-13% and 12-18% respectively, whereas for molasses the values were 4.06 and 8.62% respectively. The content of minerals (Ca, Na, K and S) was reported to be on a higher side in vinasse compared to molasses. In our laboratory, the chemical and mineral analysis of de potash vinasse revealed the following composition; DM (60.16%), moisture (39.84%), OM (86.65%), TA (13.35%), AIA (1.95%), CP (7.85), Ca (207.01 ppm), Mg (8728.5 ppm), K (780 ppm), Na (1035.5ppm), Cu (0.77 ppm), Co (0.197 ppm), Zn (8.98 ppm), Fe (137.2ppm),Mn (8.98 ppm), Cd (0.22ppm) and Pb (1.02 ppm).
Use of vinasse as source of plant nutrient
Vinasse contains a large amount of organic matter, N, P, K, S and Ca and can be used as an alternative source of plant nutrients there by reducing investment on inorganic fertilizers (Joshi et al., 1994). Mahimairaja and Bolan (2004) suggested that low doses of distillery effluent remarkably improve growth and yield of dry land crops. Jain and Srivastava (2012) observed that very low rates of application of crude spent wash (CSW) 5 ml/kg soil showed improvement in bud sprouting, settling height, root number and root length also indicated stimulatory effect of very low rates of CSW on chlorophyll content and enzyme activity.
Effect of vinasse on growth, meat composition and performance of animals
Alberto et al., (2009) studied the balance and digestibility of nitrogen, when using distiller’s vinasse as partial substitute of the protein source in growing-fattening swine. It was suggested that the pig is capable of assimilating and retaining positively the nitrogen from the vinasse to use it in the different metabolic functions. Therefore, it could be included up to 30% as substitute of the protein source, not affecting the physiological and metabolic performance of this animal category. Yalcin (2010) studied the nutritive value of modified dried vinasse (ProMass) and its effects on growth performance, carcass characteristics and some blood biochemical parameters in steers. They observed leaner carcases from steers supplemented with 100g/kg condensed molasses solubles (CMS) had significant reduction in the kidney, heart and pelvic fats. The lipolytic effect of the vinasse would probably be related to its high betaine content.
Hidalgo et al., (2011) studied the distillery vinasse as an alternative additive in poultry feed. They suggested that the use of vinasse as an additive in chickens for fattening and laying hens replacement, can optimize the use of nutrients in the diet, ensure adequate productive behavior in animals and economic benefits, facilitated by the better development of bird that could be achieved as well.
Campos et al., (2014) studied the inclusion of vinasse to the concentrate for fattening lambs: Intake, animal performance, and carcass and meat characteristics. They suggested that addition of 100 or 200 g of vinasse/kg of concentrate for fattening lambs reduced feed intake and growth rate and increased the feed: gain ratio and meat toughness, without affecting any other carcass or meat characteristics.
Maneerat et al., (2015) studied effect of agro-industrial by-products as dietary roughage source on growth performance of fattening steers. They suggested that the bagasse-vinasse mixture (70:30) could be used with sweet corn husk, cob and pineapple peel to produce silage and it can be the most suitable one for replacing conventional ingredient as total mixed ration silage for fattening steers.
Zali et al., (2017) conducted an experiment on effect of vinasse (condensed molasses solubles) on performance and meat chemical composition of Holstein male calves. They found that the inclusion of 5% vinasse in the diet of growing calves have positive effects on supply of N, modify body composition and produce leaner meat. Also, our results showed no negative effects of inclusion 5% vinasse on feed intake, ADG, FCR, carcase characteristic and nutrient digestibility.
Dry matter content of vinasse is around 45-60%, CP- 6-13%, ash 15% with considerable amount of major and micro minerals. These results suggest that the use of vinasse @t 5 ml/ kg of soil improved plant growth. If could be used @ 5-10% of concentrate mixture in steers and other large ruminants for better growth and lean mass production, and if used @10-20% in the diet of lambs, could improve their growth performance. However, depotash vinasse may be a good alternative compared to raw and untreated vinasse, which should be explored further for feeding livestock under Indian conditions.
by Gaurav Pratap Singh, Amit N. Sharma, Vandana Kumari. L, Asger UdDeen and G Mondal
ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal