Infinite Chemical Evaluation Labs Obtains Full Colorado Hemp Testing Laboratory Certification

In October, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it had awarded nearly $ 150 million in grants to 15 projects in support of sustainable agricultural research projects.

Central State University, a historically black land grant university (HBCU) in Wilberforce, Ohio, received one of two $ 10 million Sustainable Agriculture Systems (SAS) grants for the USDA’s hemp projects. (Oregon State University received the other hemp-related grant.)

Focus of the central government? Feeding hemp to seafood.

The university put together a multidisciplinary team with five other land grant institutions to study how hemp grain could replace some or all of the feed in aquaponics. The five-year project – known as Sustainable Use of a Safe Hemp Ingredient or SUSHI – has three aspects: a research part, an educational part and an extension part.

With partner institutions in four states beyond Ohio, the project goes far beyond the mere investigation of hemp as an aquaculture feed. Partner schools include the College of Menominee Nation (a tribal land grant community college in Wisconsin), Kentucky State University (an HBCU), the University of Delaware, the University of Kentucky, and Mississippi State University.

Here, Project Leader Brandy Phipps, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor of Food, Nutrition, and Health at Central State explains the goals of the project, the potential of hemp in aquaculture feed, and the far-reaching effects the study could have beyond its endpoint.

Photo courtesy of the central government


Theresa Bennett (TB): First, can you tell me some of the ultimate goals of this research project?

Brandy Phipps (BP): We hope so [the results of this project] have the potential to open markets for hemp grain and that it can create more economical and environmentally sustainable systems for people who produce aquaculture fish. We hope to increase the number of under-represented minority graduates in agriculture. But ultimately, how can we feed the rapidly growing population on this planet in a way that makes it the least likely to contribute to climate change and that is affordable and accessible for everyone? I mean, isn’t that really the goal of agriculture? How do we feed our people so that the planet is not destroyed and people can afford it? We try to touch all of this.

With our expansion work, we’re going to do a few things. We will create certificate programs in aquaculture production and hemp production. We will also provide seed capital for some of the early graduates of these certificate programs; We expect to fund up to six new aquaculture producers in the Menominee Nation while working with local retailers and restaurants to build connections so that these new producers have a supply chain for their products.

In addition, this project will provide an aquaponics expansion facility at the College of Menominee Nation that will host field days and community food distributions. This allows community members who do not necessarily participate in the certificate programs to see how aquaponics works, which gives them the opportunity to learn and perhaps gain interest in entering this area of ​​agriculture. This setup and programming will also enable the College of Menominee to provide food for those who may not otherwise have access to it. So there is a lot going on and we are very happy about it.

TB: So why hemp and why fish?

BP: When we talk about hemp, a lot of people think of either the fiber or the flower for CBD. What people sometimes forget is that hemp grain is an incredibly nutritious source of food. … Not only does it have a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, it not only has heart-healthy fats that we always hear about (omega-3 fats), but it also has an ideal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio Fats. And as if that weren’t enough to make it incredibly nutritious, hemp is one of the few vegetable proteins we call “whole,” meaning that its protein contains all of the essential amino acids needed in the human diet. Few plants have protein that is complete.

So, that’s kind of the reason for hemp, but then you could go, well, why hemp for [aquaponics]? … Seafood is generally nutritious. From a production perspective, land-based aquaculture tends to be more climate-friendly than many other traditional land-based farming systems. So you can see that focusing on aquaculture production, be it fish or other types of seafood, really has the potential to accomplish all of the important things we as humans need – to produce enough food in a way that is economically viable is and has the least negative environmental impact.

When we think of high quality fish – like rainbow trout that we will be working with – to be farmed in fisheries and aquaculture, they usually need to be supplied with fish oil and fish meal. These products are mostly obtained from fish caught in the wild, which is both expensive and affects the environmental sustainability of the system. It also tends to be the most expensive ingredient in aquaculture feed. So if we can replace fish oil or fish meal in whole or in part with hemp products, we have now developed a system for producing nutrient-rich fish in a less polluting way at a cheaper price for both producers and consumers.

“…[W]We’re very fortunate that the things we’re passionate about have the potential to make such a big impact on the world. “-Brandy Phipps, Ph.D., SUSHI Project Leader, Assistant Professor at Central State University

TB: Can you explain how you plan to conduct the experiment over the next five years?

BP: We’re going to do a series of feeding trials. You can imagine each individual taking some time because you have to start with baby fish called finger cots and feed them up to market weight to assess how they are growing, their health, and what compounds are in edible servings. done again. So it’s basically five years of different feeding trials to see how safe and effective hemp products are in aquaculture production of rainbow trout.

With the Education section, we offer scholarships for graduates of the College of the Menominee Nation, which is primarily a two-year college, to complete their education here at Central State in one of four agricultural degrees. We anticipate that at least some of these Native American students will bring these degrees back to their reservation and empower that community with the skills and knowledge they have acquired.

Another small part is that we’re going to be researching some general health metrics in collaboration with the Menominee Nation Diabetes Clinic. Over five years we will conduct preliminary surveys to examine the intake of fish, vegetables and products, etc. And then at the end of the five years we can see when the expansion programming and new producers have increased the supply [of fish and produce] Is the behavior of the people in the area changing? Do we see an increase? [in fish and produce consumption]? In addition to potential behavioral changes, we can collect county health data to see if there has been an impact on the population [health] Risk factors.

TB: So are you going to study both the nutritional profile of the fish you feed the hemp to and whether they contain cannabinoid residues?

BP: Definitely. That has been one of the main consumer concerns I think – people are wondering if animals intended for human consumption are fed hemp, could they possibly keep cannabinoids? To do [cannabinoids] concentrate in those edible servings? And if so, would these cannabinoids be passed on to the consumer? One of the main goals of this project is to provide this data.

The multidisciplinary team involved in SUSHI consists of:

  • Dr. Brandy E. Phipps, Ph.D. – Central State University
    Expertise: Biomedical Sciences and Nutrition
  • Dr. Craig Schluttenhofer, Ph.D. – Central State University
    Expertise: Hemp agronomy
  • Dr. Krishna Kumar Nedunuri, Ph.D. – Central State University
    Expertise: Water resource management and environmental technology
  • Brian Kowalkowski – College of Menominee Nation
    Expertise: Initial and continuing education
  • Dr. Waldemar Rossi, Ph.D. – Kentucky State University
    Expertise: Fish nutrition
  • Dr. Tyler Mark, Ph.D. – University of Kentucky
    Expertise: Economics of Hemp Production
  • Dr. Brandon McFadden, Ph.D. – University of Delaware
    Expertise: Consumer economy
  • Dr. Seong Yun, Ph.D. – Mississippi State University
    Expertise: agricultural economics

TB: And will you ultimately use this data to file a new feed ingredient application with the Association of American Feed Control Officials? [AAFCO]?

BP: That is actually one of our specific goals. In the end, we should have data to submit an application to AAFCO. We’ve spent a lot of time making our feeding trials and analysis robust, so we’re pretty confident we’ll be collecting the right data for the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] and AAFCO. That doesn’t mean they’ll approve it – it just means that our goal is to provide the data they need to make a decision.

TB: Does your research have any other central goals?

BP: Another important goal of the research is to investigate how [hemp in aquaponic feed] Could have an impact on various sectors of the economy, including environmental, consumer and agricultural production economies. All these economic analyzes are carried out in parallel with the feeding trials.

TB: Is there anything else you would like to add to your research?

BP: There were only 32 [SAS grants] Funded over three funding cycles, so it’s quite historical that a primary undergraduate institution, an HBCU, was one of those 32. We’re the only school in Ohio that ever got it, and we’re the only HBCU that ever got it. We are happy to have been selected for this work.

I also attended a conference [recently], and it was interesting that they discussed how one of the United Nations’ strategic priorities is to transform aquaculture systems to improve global food security. To do a project that is so directly in line with international goals, to be part of the solution to international problems – that is very, very exciting. It’s very humiliating. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s good pressure. It means the way we think is right, and we are very fortunate that the things we get excited about also have the potential to make such a huge impact on the world.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.