Turning wood into animal feed

April 17, 2024
Sappi’s lignin-based Pelletin product is a key ingredient of animal feeds.


Lignin, a major component of wood and an abundant organic polymer, provides a multitude of functions especially in the industrial and agricultural sectors. Sourced from the wood pulping process as a side stream, Sappi SA uses it to produce Pelletin, a lignin-based additive in animal feed manufacturing.

Pelletin, which is produced at Sappi’s Tugela Mill, is used in the preparation of animal feeds as a binding agent that replaces oil-based binders.

Sappi has recently achieved GMP+ Feed Safety Assurance certification for Pelletin, which is an internationally recognised program for feed safety management.

Extracting valuable lignin from wood pulp.

“Sappi’s certification gives Pelletin a competitive edge in the global lignin market, as it demonstrates its compliance with the highest standards of quality assurance and risk management in the animal feed industry,” says Jason Knock, general manager, Lignin for Sappi Southern Africa. This is vital for the health and welfare of livestock and the safety of food products derived from them, as well as the issue of food security in the country, he says.

Lignin, which is recovered from the pulping process of paper and board manufacturing, is becoming an increasingly important natural alternatives for oil-based products, and is a prime example of the growing bioeconomy.

Plantation trees provide the primary resource for a growing array of wood-based products from structural timber, poles, planks and boards to clothing fabric and animal food additives.

“As a technical lignin, Pelletin primarily functions as a binder in the production of compound animal feeds and acts as a natural glue that binds the feed ingredients and additives together. This makes for a cost-effective compound feed pellet with enhanced durability and strength,” says Jason.

The combined anti-caking and dispersing properties of the product promote mixing uniformity and homogenous blending of all feed ingredients, acting as an effective lubricant reducing friction in the pelleting process, as well as reducing wear and tear on the manufacturing equipment.

Lignin is a major component of wood, extracted during the pulping process.
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