Q: What is the relationship between the hardness and moisture in feed?

By: Jose Ramirez, Technical Director

Moisture is vital for gelatinization and binding of the feed particles. During the conditioning process, heat is applied to feed and starches within the formulation become more absorbent, allowing water to soak into the particles. When feed reaches the cooling phase, these soaked particles bind into a paste-like substance due to hydrogen bonding. The uptake of moisture into feed particles and the binding resulting from starch modification is called gelatinization. Gelatinization is complex and not necessarily dependent on how much moisture is present, but more so impacted by even distribution and absorption of the available moisture. Inadequate moisture content and increased friction at the die can cause burning of the pellets outer layer and result in hard, brittle pellets. In contrast, poor gelatinization can result in soft, crumbly pellets. Resolving pellet quality isn't a matter of adding more water but ensuring that the water within the formulation is uniformly spread and absorbed. Uniform moisture absorption equates to uniform gelatinization and pellet quality.

Maxi-Mil aids gelatinization during conditioning by reducing the surface tension of water and promoting the uniform absorption of water by feed particles. Reduced surface tension improves the thermal energy transfer from steam. After all, water is a conductor and allows heat to penetrate feed particles. Since gelatinization depends on heat and moisture, better steam penetration improves gelatinization and results in higher pellet quality. Maxi-Mil is specially formulated to reduce the surface tension of water, improving moisture absorption in feed.


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