[17 August/The Country]

According to AgResearch scientists, proteins from wool could be added to animal diets to improve their health. They said positive findings in domestic cat diets would open up possibilities for new uses of sheep wool. AgResearch’s Science Group Leader for Food and Bio-Based Products, Dr Jolon Dyer, said there was a lot of work going on to discover new uses of wool to support the New Zealand sheep industry. He added the research showed sheep wool had many useful attributes. Scientists used a method called controlled hydrolysis to extract the wool proteins. The protein was then added as an ingredient in pet food formula and tested against standard formula. The findings indicated wool protein hydrolysates offered promise as a functional ingredient. AgResearch Senior Scientist, Dr Santanbu Deb-Choudhury, noted the hydrolysates offered a real potential as a supplement for pet diets. The next step would be to study the effect of the wool hydrolysate on animals other than cats.