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Use of biochar as feed supplements for animal farming

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journal contribution
posted on 06.02.2020 by Ka Yan Man, Ka Lai Chow, Yu Bon Man, Wing Yin Mo, Ming Hung Wong

The production and application of biochar has become increasingly popular in the past 10years. Biochar has similar characteristics to charcoal and activated charcoal: they are all pyrogenic carbonaceous matter derived from organic carbon-rich materials and produced by pyrolysis. Studies related to the incorporation of biochar in animal feed are limited. This review summarizes major studies related to the use of biochar as a feed additive for ruminants (cattle and goats), pigs, poultry (chickens and ducks) and fish. Documented positive responses to biochar supplementation include improved growth performance, blood profiles, egg yield, ability to resist pathogens including gut pathogenic bacteria and a reduction of methane production by ruminant animals. In addition, the high sorption capacity of biochar efficiently aids the removal of pollutants and toxins from animals’ bodies as well as from farm environments. It is expected that there will be increasing use of biochar in animal farming. The potential use of biochar in the medical and human health sectors should also be explored.

Funding

Financial support from the Innovative Technology Fund (Innovative Technology Commission, Hong Kong SAR): ITS/174/14FX, Green Valley Landfill Limited: EP/SP/10/91, the Dean’s Research Fund: FLASS/DRF/IRS-1 from The Education University of Hong Kong and The Early Career Scheme, Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong SAR, China (Project no. 28300619) is gratefully acknowledged.

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