Ing. Darina Havlíčková


Wheat bran, which is a by-product of flour production, is currently a highly-discussed ingredient both for producing feed and for human nutrition, and is wreathed in many legends. Laypeople often consider it a waste product from the milling industry and it therefore incites natural distrust or even concerns about its use. There are no grounds for this however. In order to understand and appreciate its unique properties, we must focus on what bran consists of and realise that wheat grain is a live organism, which is intended to assure the next generation of plants.

From the morphological aspect, the composition of the caryopsis is approximately the same in all types of grain and usually differs particularly by the ratio of individual kernel layers and the shape. Wheat grain contains around 60 - 70% polysaccharides, 9 -14% protein and approximately 1 - 5% fat. It is also significant from the aspect of group B and E vitamin content. Calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc and phosphorus are among the minerals that occur more in the outer layers of the kernel than in the endosperm for example.  Their quantity is very variable depending on the type of plant, climatic conditions and agricultural technology used to grow the specific grain.

Bran, which is also called the exosperm, plays a very important role in protecting the kernel against external mechanical or biological factors. This is why a great quantity of bioactive substances, which help assure this protection of the endosperm, can also be found in bran.  Elements of the aleurone layer, which are rich in gluten-free protein, and elements from other outer layers, which we mostly value as a source of the important group of polysaccharides and other substance, which are generally identified as fibre, are also transferred into bran.

For the reasons described above, bran can be considered not only one of the main feed commodities, but also a “functional” food, whereas daily consumption of cereal products enriched with bran has been proven to reduce the risk of obesity, cancer of the lower intestine and cardiovascular disease in people.

Our company also works with bran. Thanks to its high fibre content and low protein content, this item is an ingredient in most feed mixtures produced for horses, and also for other very sensitive pet and farm animals, such as rabbits, piglets, chickens, etc. All these categories require feed mixtures that are absolutely stable and controlled, which is why a laboratory analysis to establish quality is performed on the input raw materials, and this an absolutely cardinal matter for us as a leading manufacturer of feed mixtures in the Czech Republic. In order to maintain quality throughout the entire production process, our company purchases bran from certified suppliers on the basis of regular collection of samples from individual mills. We only collaborate with suppliers who meet our specification requirements, whereby we are able to eliminate unstable deliveries from various phases of the milling process and also control the level of milling.

With regard to the natural property of bran to absorb moisture from the air, as a result of which the raw material may spoil or mould may form, we also devote the proper attention to suitable storage, which plays a key role in the quality of the raw material. Because we also produce feeds for the most sensitive categories of animal, we not only have strict in-house limits for mycotoxin content, such as DON (vomitoxin), we also have strict input limits, which are monitored by our colleagues from the laboratory, colleagues from the quality department and also by our animal nutrition specialists during creation of recipes. In order to accommodate our customers and provide them with a high-quality product, we have chosen to commercially sell the pelleted form of wheat bran, which is more stable and more suited to storage.

Wheat bran itself is a popular and traditional feed for all horses. It is very tasty and even picky horses enjoy eating it. It has a slight laxative effect, which is why it is often included in traditional stable mash. It promotes a feeling of satiation in horses, it stabilises the content of the guts in a suitable consistency and acts against diarrhea. Wheat bran will swell slightly, so it should be soaked when being fed to sensitive horses and horses who tend to get constipated, and should not be fed dry. Bran is not very appropriate as a mono-diet for horses, or as their sole feed. Such an imbalanced ration could disrupt metabolism of minerals, particularly in young, growing horses. Bran has a very narrow ratio between Ca and P and therefore a high P content. Most of the phosphorus in grain is stored in the outer layers of the caryopsis in the form of phytates, which horses are able to utilise very easily, on the contrary to other types of farm animal.