July 21, 2009


Distillers grains raises antibiotic concerns

Several studies have indicated that distillers grains contain antibiotics, which are used to kill bacteria in the ethanol distilling process.


The distillation process requires a combination of enzymes and yeast to convert corn into ethanol. But bacterial organisms present during distillation can cause problems and the easiest way to kill these bacteria is to use antibiotics, which lingers after distillation and can be passed along to cattle when used as feed.


Samples of distillers grains from 60 ethanol plants revealed the presence of four types of antibiotics - penicillin, virginiamycin, erythromycin and tylosin.


There is currently a concern about the use of antibiotics in animal feed, and the US government is now seeking to ban many routine uses of antibiotics in livestock in order to curb the spread of dangerous bacteria in humans.

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