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Press: Worms use paunch waste from abbatoirs

Geoff Read g.read at niwa.co.nz
Wed Dec 10 19:54:22 EST 2003

  A lot of worms could turn around abattoirs' smelly problem

Canberra, Dec 9 AAP

CSIRO scientists consider system used by some New Zealand meatworks to deal
with fetid paunch waste

The humble earthworm could save the Australian abattoir industry one of its
smelliest problems.

A new report into the worm industry has also found worms fed with tuna oil
might be a good food source for the burgeoning aquaculture industry,
particularly for freshwater crayfish.

Report author Robyn Dynes, from CSIRO's Livestock Industries, said there was
scope for worms to be used in decomposing the innards of sheep and cattle
killed in abattoirs.

The innards, known in the industry as paunch waste, quickly become smelly and
carry a high level of liquid which makes them difficult and costly to

Dr Dynes said with abattoirs coming under increasing pressure to reduce 
odours, the worms might be the best way to break down the paunch waste.

She said the waste could be dumped on an abattoir site, with worms introduced
to break it down, and worms could be minced for use as fish feed on marine
farms .

The system has been used for many years by some New Zealand meatworks, which
supply their paunch waste to worm large-scale farmers.

"An ideal solution would be a system operating on site, which is 
environmentally sustainable and profitable," she said.

"Composting earthworms could provide this, through a composting system, with 
vermicast material being sold or spread onto adjacent paddocks and excess 
worms processed in the rendering plant to produce a high protein meal.  

"Meat processors are likely to be well placed to process earthworms into worm 
meal, utilising existing processing facilities to handle intractable water and 
reduce their greenhouse gas outputs."  

Worm composting tends to be dominated by three varieties of worm - the tiger
worm, the red tiger worm and the Indian blue worm.

Worms are usually produced for their casings, which are heavily used as a
compost in the horticulture sectors.

Dr Dynes' also found worms could be a useful food source for the growing 
freshwater crayfish industry.

Crayfish are currently fed mainly a meal made from fish.

But worm meal, especially made from worms fed with some tuna oil, could 
provide a cheaper alternative.

Worms also have high levels of certain acids which would be useful to 
freshwater crayfish.

"A research further defines the fatty acid and amino acid requirements of
farmed crustaceans, further research on the potential of earthworm meals to
supply limiting fatty acids and amino acids will be required," the report

"The value of these fatty acids to intensive farming in particular the 
aquaculture industry may be significant."


  Geoff Read <g.read at niwa.co.nz>

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