Feeding pigs with the remaining barley waste from Japanese shochu can reduce stress and make pork meat better, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Tokyo. Sake is a distilled alcoholic beverage that has been around for about 500 years, but has not yet found a large following outside Japan. It has an alcohol content of between 20 and 40 per cent, which is higher than wine or sake, and lower than whisky and other spirits. Although it is often referred to as “Japanese vodka”, the two types of alcohol have little in common.
There are many different varieties of Japanese shochu, which are made from barley, potatoes, rice, wheat, sweet potatoes and other starch yin ingredients, allowing mold to break down and then ferment it with yeast, which is then filtered and distilled multiple times. The result is a clear wine that can be consumed in a variety of ways, including pure, warm, hot, iced, or mixed.
Another result is the remaining alcohol waste currently treated as industrial waste. However, a recent study by professional winemakers and agronomists attempted to find more practical uses for the waste. Essentially, the focus of this study is on a very old recycling technique.
Among those who spend little time on the farm, there is a popular idea that livestock are fed mainly with food that humans can eat, but surprisingly, the diets of many farm animals are actually made up of foods that are not suitable for human consumption or even indigestible. For example, cattle often eat rapeseed cakes left after rapeseed processing, and many pigs rely on water from restaurants and food processing plants, or they will be landfilled. In the case of shochu, the idea is to reduce the co-emissions often caused by the way waste wine is treated into feed, while also reducing the cost to farmers and winemakers. However, it turns out that these bad wines can also make pigs more satisfied.
For the study, the researchers fed six pigs aged three to six months with standard feed and added a shochu distilled residue supplement consisting of a dry mixture of barley, mold and yeast. They found high levels of IgA antibodies in the saliva of the test pigs, suggesting that they were healthier than the control group that fed only the standard diet.
In addition, the lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the test pigs indicated that they were more relaxed. One reason is that barley sizzles contain high levels of two protein components, leucine and histaline peptides, which are associated with lower stress levels. Similar lower stress reactions were seen in mice, and when fed this supplement, mice were more likely to return to normal behavior when exposed to stress.
The results are also familiar to many farmers. Because pigs have a less stressful response, they produce higher meat quality. Taste tests showed that shochu pork tasted, tender, juicy and flavored better. Associate Professor Li Junyou, of the University of Tokyo, said: “We see no difference in weight gain in pigs of two diets, and pigs are slaughtered at a standard six-month age, which means that any difference in meat quality is not due to different amounts of fat.” “
According to the team, the more likely explanation is that due to the high proportion of oleic acid, which is an unsaturated fatty acid associated with improved LDL cholesterol levels, there are chemical differences in meat. In cooking, the melting temperature of the fat is also lower, which the team says leads to a better taste of pork.
“Kyushu in western Japan has historically been known for making shochu and many pig farms,” said Yasuhisa Ano, the team leader. “We want collaborative research projects like ours to directly benefit local communities and the global environment.”
The study was published in Food Chemistry.