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Nutritive Value of Bone Meal and Bone Char by Cow Bone

Bone meal and bone char produced from inedible cow bones could be an alternative renewable and low-cost dietary Phosphorous (P) source in poultry diets. Calcium (Ca) and Phosphorus (P) are two minerals that are normally included in dietary formulations for livestock animals due to their important roles in various body functions and in metabolism1.

Bone meal could be locally produced from inedible cattle bone as a byproduct of slaughter house activity that occurs throughout the provincial areas of Indonesia. Bones are slaughter house byproducts that cannot be sold as meat or used in meat-products. The quantity of inedible bones may vary according to the type and body size of the slaughtered animal2.

Currently, inedible bones are underutilized and often create disposal problems and environmental concerns. The use of inedible bones for livestock feed could serve as additional revenue source for meat packers and butchers and could in turn reduce environmental pollution.

A new study was carried out that aimed to investigate the potential availability of inedible bones as a nutrition source and measured physical characteristics and mineral composition of bone meal produced from cow bones from different body parts using open-air burning or lime water soaking processes. Nutritive value of supplemental bone meal as a mineral source in diets for laying quail was also evaluated3.

Bone meal had a light yellow white to white color, whereas bone char was largely dark brown likely because of increased oxygen availability and charring temperature. Bone char was reported to change in color from black to grey to white upon increasing the temperature from 350-600°C4. The organic material can be converted to inorganic carbon (graphite), which has a black color.

It was concluded that inedible cow bones in this study represented 3.35% of total body weight and mainly originated from mandibles, skulls, legs and ribs. Cattle with higher body weights tended to produce higher weights of inedible bones. These inedible bones could be processed into bone meal and bone char with an average meal yield of 91.4 and 67.3%, respectively.

Supplementation of feed for laying quail with bone meal and bone char resulted in better egg shell quality, greater mineral retention and higher tibia bone mass relative to quail fed the un-supplemented diet. Although the charring process reduced meal yields, bone char contained a higher concentration of essential minerals and tended to have better nutritive values than bone meal. Bone char was therefore a better source of P compared to bone meal for fortification of local mineral poultry feed in Indonesia.


Inedible bones, bone meal, bone char meal, bone meal for fortification, local mineral poultry feed, Supplementation, laying quail, Cattle with higher body weights, mandibles, skulls, legs and ribs.


  1. Khalil and S. Awar, 2009. Limestone of Bukit Kamang as a calcium source for laying hens. J. Indonesian Trop. Anim. Agric., 34: 174-180.
  2. Russ, W. and R. Meyer-Pittroff, 2004. Utilizing waste products from the food production and processing industries. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr., 44: 57-62.
  3. Khalil, ReswatiFerawati , Y.F. Kurnia and F. Agustin, 2017. Studies on Physical Characteristics, Mineral Composition and Nutritive Value of Bone Meal and Bone Char Produced from Inedible Cow Bones. Pak. J. Nutr., 16: 426-434.
  4. Dahi, E., 2015. Optimisation of bone char production using the standard defluoridation capacity procedure. Res. Rep. Fluoride, 48: 29-36.

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