Dr. Iman Hernaman Develops Rapid Testing App for Bran-Based Feed

Dr. Iman Hernaman, Ir., M.Si.,IPU. (Photo: Dadan Triawan)

[Unpad Media Channel] Rice bran is a prominent ingredient in livestock feed, especially for ruminants. Unfortunately, the production of rice bran in Indonesia does not meet the demand for livestock feed. As a result, many sellers mix rice bran and rice husk in their feed products.

However, according to an Unpad professor of livestock nutrition and feed technology, Dr. Iman Hernaman, Ir., M.Si., IPU, rice husks contain lignin and silica which could damage the digestive tract. Aside from that, at a glimpse, mixed feed is also difficult to differentiate from feed made of pure bran.

To know whether the rice bran bought contains rice husks, the supervising body responsible needs to run tests in a lab. The result of the tests itself usually requires a minimum of 3 days to come out.

“The problem is, when the sellers come in for a test, they’re not going to want to wait 3 days and return,” said Iman.

To work around the issue, Iman has developed a procedure of feed testing using regression analysis to quickly determine the husk content in the feed. The result of his procedure only requires around 20 minutes.

The procedure can not only determine the amount of polluting content, but also the appropriate selling price. Iman said that, concerning the price, bootleg feed should have lower prices compared to pure bran-based feed. In reality, many farmers buy bootleg feed at prices which should be reserved for pure bran feed.

“If the difference in price is substantial, and the supervising body buys the feed in huge quantities, they will suffer huge losses,” he said.

To prevent small farmers experiencing the same losses, Iman with his team put together the procedure by utilizing information technology (IT). The procedure developed by Iman is relatively short, that is, it is able to determine the percentage of husk content as well as the selling price of the feed being tested in a short duration.

Using his procedure, the testers only take a gram of bran feed sample. The sample is stored in a 5 centimeter petri dish and given a phloroglucinol compound.

The mixing with phloroglucinol was done to calibrate the sample which will be tested. The calibration process uses the Color Grab phone app developed by Iman.

To carry out the calibration, the mixed sample was left for 10 to 15 minutes then put into a special sealed box exposed to light. The box is the creation of Iman and his team which has been modified to support the calibration process to be more accurate.

Without requiring a long time, the app will display the value of the red color seen on the sample.

First, the dish is placed in the middle of the box, then a picture of the dish is taken using the Color Grab app on a tester’s phone. The picture is taken through a hole right above the dish. Once the app locks in on an object, the tester may take the picture.

Iman explained that the resulting value should then be inputted on the webpage (http://nttp.peternakan.unpad.ac.id/tes-kualitas-dedak) to determine the percentage of husk in the sample. Next, the tester manually writes on the page the market value of bran and husk. The system will then calculate and display a recommended asking price.

“The governing body also has a pricing standard should you want to negotiate for a lower price than the one recommended by the system,” said Iman.

Iman said that the key of the research he is doing is in the calculation formula he developed. Although he uses regression analysis, he is optimistic that the formula he developed is quite accurate and able to determine the rate of husk in a relatively quick time compared to conventional testing in laboratories.

Aside from that, the procedure also does not require a laboratory. All that need to be prepared are a specialized box for calibration, a petri dish, a phloroglucinol compound, as well as a phone with a camera and the Color Grab app installed. “The testing process can also be done in a warehouse, you don’t need to go to a laboratory,” said Iman.

Iman said that this research actually started as a challenge by the farmers to the professors of Unpad’s Faculty of Animal Husbandry to, in a short time, find out whether rice bran was being counterfeited. “Five years ago, I was challenged by farmers to create a tool to test feed quickly. Now we have the result,” he added.

The testing of the contents of rice bran was considered important, mainly because bootleg feed will cause huge losses for livestock farmers. Iman also found that, from the 16 samples of feed from different manufacturers, only one was made purely from rice bran.

With the more complete information on feed now presented on the system, the governing body will be aware of the contents of the feed that they buy. The making of bootleg feed can also be worked around by mixing it with quantities of other feed ingredients, so the percentage of rice husk can be reduced.

“If the bootleg feed was reduced, then the rate of rice husk will also reduce because it uses a lot of ingredients. Besides, if the governing body was scammed, they would also suffer losses,” he concluded. (arm/ICP)*

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