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Environmental impact of using specialty feed ingredients in swine and poultry production: A life cycle assessment


Livestock production has a variety of environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, acidification, and primary energy consumption. The demand for livestock products is expected to grow substantially, creating even more environmental pressure. The use of specialty feed ingredients (SFI) such as supplemented AA and phytase can reduce nutrient input into the system without compromising productivity and consequently can reduce emissions. The global change impact of using SFI in pig and broiler production systems in Europe and North and South America was studied. A life cycle assessment according to international standards (ISO 14040/44) analyzed contributions from producing SFI and animals to global change. Three different alternatives were analyzed. In addition, partial sensitivity analysis was conducted using 5 scenarios for each region for both production systems. Specialty feed ingredient supplementation in pig and broiler diets reduced greenhouse gas emissions (cradle to farm gate) by 56% and 54% in Europe, 17% and 15% in North America, and 33% and 19% in South America, respectively, compared to an unsupplemented diet. A total of 136 Mt CO2 equivalent (CO2 eq) was saved in 2012, rising to 146 Mt CO2 eq in 2050 on the basis of United Nations population projections. Considerable benefits of supplementation with SFI were apparent in European and South American diets when direct land use change was considered because of the reduced demand for soybean meal. The eutrophication potential of unsupplemented diets was reduced by up to 35% in pig and 49% in broiler production systems compared to supplemented alternatives. The acidification potential of supplemented strategies was reduced by up to 30% in pig and 79% in broiler production systems. The primary energy demand was similar in all alternatives, and this could be an area where the SFI industry can improve. Overall, SFI supplementation substantially reduced the global warming, eutrophication, and acidification potentials in all regions studied.

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