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Feeding demonstration (to come)

All about activated carbon

Welcome! This page is constantly being updated as I find scientific facts to back the claims. There is a separate page for references if you wish to see the source of the claims or to pursue your own studies. Feedback is welcome via facebook or by email.

USE:  The use of carbon in medicine goes back to the time of Hippocrates, when it was shown to protect animals from poisoning (Holt and Holz, 1963). Activated charcoal refers to charcoal or carbon that has been processed in such a way that it has a large surface area, which allows for more binding sites (Holt and Holz, 1963). Activated carbon (activated charcoal) is usually made from sawdust, fruit stones, nutshells, coke, and coal (Stoeckli and Huber, 1977). The raw material is carbonized at temperatures of 150 to 600°C, resulting in the removal of noncarbon elements. Freed atoms of elemental carbon form sheets with very small dimensions, and tarry substances are formed. Physical activation occurs through the removal of the tarry material via steam or CO2 activation at high temperatures.

AC is known as one of the most effective and non-toxic group of sorbents and has been shown to be a tenacious adsorbing agent of a wide variety of drugs and toxic agents. It has been commonly used as a medical treatment for severe intoxications since the 19th century (Huwig et al., 2001).

Vegetable-based AC treated only with steam is considered natural. Therapeutic use to adsorb accidentally ingested toxins, including microbial toxin, mycotoxins, pesticides, and other toxins  were considered to be allowed as a feed additive.

ACTIVATION PROCESS

Activated carbon can be made from a wide range of source materials such as coal, coconut shells and wood. The material is often charred to achieve carbon, followed by chemical activation or activation by high temperature steam. This produces an activated carbon with an extensive network of pores and an extremely high surface area (typical range is 300 to 2000 m2/g). The pores provide sites for the adsorption of chemical contaminants in gases or liquids.

Our products contain coconut shell that is activated by steam is first carbonised to create charcoal. The carbonisation is performed at a temperature at approximately 550 deg C in an oxygen free atmosphere. This process drives off all of the volatile organic compounds and leaves behind the carbon and the minerals (ash).

 

The steam activation of the charcoal is then carried out an even higher temperature (up to 1000 deg C) in a steam atmosphere. 

Safety Information

Studies show that simple charcoal can have a negative effect with regard to absorbing some toxins (Boudergue, 2009).

 

Activated charcoal has gone through a steaming process at 600 degrees to remove all impurities.

Regulatory: EPA/NIEHS/Other Sources 180 USEPA: 

Activated carbon does not appear on any of the lists of hazardous substances (US EPA, 1998).

NIEHS: Does not appear in the National Toxicology Program database (NTP, 2002).

 

Permissable Exposure Levels (PELs) for activated carbon) are:  (Total dust): 15 mg/m3 206 (Respirable fraction): 5 mg/m3  Source: 29 CFR 1910.1000.

Activated carbon is inert and contains no toxic substances, however care must be taken not to inhale fine powder. There is also a possibility of fine powder spontaneously combusting if not stored correctly,(ie in high temperatures and near volatile chemicals).Please read this MSDS data sheet.

MSDS for Activated charcoal

Activated Charcoal is determined as a GRAS (generally recommended as safe) by the   NZ Food Safety Register and by the  FDA (see references for specific examples). 

Horses

"Activated charcoal appears to be most dynamic in the foregut and midgut of horses, reporting that “if any of the activated charcoal does reach the hindgut, then it has no significant impact on the microbial community present, nor on the major metabolites produced, and so should not have a detrimental effect on the principal site of fermentation in the horse.”

(Edmunds et al. 2016).

Sheep

Dr. V. V. Frolkis is a Russian gerontologist who found in his study that activated charcoal may even extend life (counterintuitive to shortening lifespan by removal of nutrients). “Charcoal added to the diet of sheep for six months did not cause a loss of nutrients, as compared with sheep not receiving charcoal. … 5% of the total diet was charcoal. It did not affect the blood or urinary levels of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, inorganic phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, creatinine, uric acid, urea nitrogen, alkaline phosphatase, total protein or urine pH.” (V. Frolkis, et al1984).

The Food & Fertilizer Technology Center (Asia Pacific Region in cooperation with Kwang Hwa Jung National Livestock Research Institute (NLRI) Rural Development Administration (RDA), Suwon, Republic of Korea) when feeding charcoal powder to domestic animals including cattle, pigs, and poultry:

  1. decrease in mastitis

  2. overall disease reduction

  3. 50% reduction in the offensive smell of manure


Studies on the effects of carbon on cattle:

Exp. 1, 6 multiparous, late-lactation Holstein cows were assigned to a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square. All cows were fed a basal diet containing approximately 60% poor-quality corn silage containing the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol. The 3 treatments were 0, 20, or 40 g of activated carbon top-dressed once daily at the p.m. feeding. Cows fed activated carbon had increased DMI and apparent total-tract nutrient digestibilities of NDF, hemicellulose, and CP. Cows fed activated carbon also had increased milk fat content and showed increased BCS (Erikson et all 2001).

The Food & Fertilizer Technology Center (Asia Pacific Region in cooperation with Kwang Hwa Jung National Livestock Research Institute (NLRI) Rural Development Administration (RDA), Suwon, Republic of Korea) when feeding charcoal powder to domestic animals including cattle, pigs, and poultry:

  1. increase in milk production for cattle

  2. decrease in mastitis

  3. overall disease reduction

  4. 50% reduction in the offensive smell of manure

Pigs

The Food & Fertilizer Technology Center (Asia Pacific Region in cooperation with Kwang Hwa Jung National Livestock Research Institute (NLRI) Rural Development Administration (RDA), Suwon, Republic of Korea) when feeding charcoal powder to domestic animals including cattle, pigs, and poultry:

  1. decrease in mastitis1. 

  2. reduction in mortality for pigs and laying hens

  3. overall disease reduction

  4. improve feed:weight ratio of pigs

  5. 50% reduction in the offensive smell of manure

Poultry

Activated charcoal has been claimed to :

1. Increase the survivability of transporting meat birds

2. Improve egg production

3. Improve meat flavour

4. Harden faeces - reducing flies

Technical data

Typical Analysis: Apparent Density (g/mL) 0.42-0.50 Moisture as packed (% max.) 3 Ash Content (% max.) 3 Water soluble ash (%) <1.0 Iron Content (% max) < 0.01 Iodine Number >1200 Butane Index (%) >23.4 Surface Area (BET M2 /g) >1000 Hardness Index (% min.) 98
 
Particle Size Specification: 5% max on upper sieve, 90% min between sieves, 5% max through lower sieve