Crayons, deodorant, paint brushes, leather shoes, insulin, marshmallows, gelatin, basketballs, baseballs, first aid cream, gum, bandages, glue, dish soap, film, candles, antifreeze, industrial cleaners, asphalt, tires, even heart valve replacements for humans -- what do all of these things have in common? They are beef byproducts , of course.
Not a day goes by that a cow doesn’t help make our lives easier -- a fact that is often ignored by the vegan crowd . Replacing these items in our lives with synthetic versions would be costly and environmentally irresponsible. I’m always so amazed when I read through a list of beef byproducts . I think it’s one of the beef industry’s best-kept secrets, and as an industry, we should spend a lot more time talking about how beef cattle are much more than burgers and steaks.
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I recently read an article that introduced a new beef byproduct  worth buzzing about. USDA Chemist Sanghoon Kim has developed a new, transparent coating that will prevent rainwater from beading up on glass windows in offices or homes, thereby reducing visibility.
According to a USDA  press release, “Besides its potential use on windows, the coating might also be applied to solar panels to help keep dirt from interfering with their performance. What's more, Kim and his colleagues have observed that the coating works well on other materials, including Plexiglas and metals such as stainless steel.
“Kim, along with USDA  colleagues, created the coating's nanoparticles by using only a few off-the-shelf laboratory chemicals, including a protein from agriculture. From start to finish, production of the nanoparticles takes less than an hour, involves simple procedures with inexpensive chemicals, and doesn't require specialized equipment or costly heating.
“In a proof-of-concept experiment, the researchers used bovine serum albumin, which is a cattle  industry byproduct, as the protein, and ethyl cyanoacrylate, a major component of super glue, as the starting material that is key to creating the nanoparticles. Applying the coating is quick and easy. All that's needed is to spray it onto clean glass or other recommended surfaces, then rinse with water.”
USDA’s Ag Research Service is seeking a patent for its new research, as well as partners to commercialize the product, which is rain-ready in about a minute. I’m very impressed with new technology and research. We continue to find new ways to utilize a beef animal and, whether it’s with a new beef cut or a new inventive byproduct, cattle  truly do enrich our lives every day, whether we realize it or not.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Beefmagazine.com or the Penton Farm Progress Group.
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