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Mac nut cake
Macadamia nut cake

When macadamia nut oil is processed, what’s left is a byproduct called macadamia nut cake (MNC). Until recently, MNC was considered a waste product and therefore, went straight to the landfill.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences saw an opportunity to put this waste to use. Associate Professor Rajesh Jha explored the nutritional and functional values of MNC as a potential alternative feedstuff for livestock, which could potentially reduce production costs and the need for imported feeds. MNC is one of several alternative feedstuffs Jha is investigating for its nutritional and functional value. Oils of Aloha, the only producer of macadamia nut oil on Oʻahu, provided the MNC needed for the investigation.

After a series of experiments and studies, Jha’s research group was able to convert what was previously thought of as a “waste and environmental burden” into a “valuable animal feed ingredient.”

“I believe their potential is great, and could potentially contribute to healthy and environmentally friendly animal production, while maintaining the competitiveness of the industry,” said Jha.

Jha’s research group is currently working on additional papers that explore the role of MNC in modulating the intestinal microbiota of pigs and poultry, and the use of MNC in pastured chicken.

The published paper appears in Science Direct.

This effort is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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