Organic accreditation for novel feed protein

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© Calysta
© Calysta

Related tags Natural gas Methane Carbon dioxide

Methane gas to feed protein producer, Calysta, says its protein product, branded as FeedKind, has been approved for use as an ingredient in organic systems for feed by Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G), the UK organic certification control body.

When asked what the implications of this approval for the use of FeedKind in organic feed formulations beyond the UK, a spokesperson for the California-headquartered company, said:

“OF&G operates to the same standards as the rest of the EU with regards to organic certification. We are in the process of extending our organic approval to additional countries in the EU.” 

FeedKind production process: 

The protein product is formed during the fermentation of methanotrophic microorganisms with small amounts of scavenger microorganisms to assist in culture stability, along with methane, ammonia and mineral salts.

Natural gas or other methane source is pumped through a specialized fermenter, and the microorganisms metabolize the gas as their sole source of energy, producing a high-protein biomass.

Wet product is extracted from the fermenter and dried, before being pelletized and packaged for shipping. Typically, the fermenter will run for seven weeks continuously, before requiring three days of cleaning. The cycle will then repeat, according to the manufacturer.

Calysta has a market introduction facility for FeedKind in Teeside in the North East of England, which became operational in Q4 2016; it is also in the process of building, in partnership with Cargill, its first commercial scale FeedKind plant at the US agribusiness giant’s corn oil production site in Memphis, Tennessee. 

That US facility is scheduled to come online in early 2019. It is expected to produce up to 20,000 metric tons per year of the methane gas to feed protein from two full-scale reactors initially, expanding to up to 200,000 metric tons per year when operating at full capacity.

Calysta is targeting its novel protein, manufactured using a gas-phase fermentation process, at the livestock, pet and fish feed markets, with the European salmon market flagged up as a priority.

The Calysta spokesperson said the company has registered significant pre-commercial scale interest in the novel protein.

“We have sent dozens of samples to leading aqua feed companies, R&D facilities, and academics globally.”

The spokesperson added that FeedKind protein is currently being studied in commercial formulations in every major aquaculture market in the world.  

“Among other species, it is being tested in salmon, trout, Japanese yellowtail, vannamei shrimp, and several carnivorous freshwater fish.”

Calysta said its protein product ticks the boxes in terms of high nutrient density, product uniformity and security of supply; it says its production is independent of climatic variability and fishery regulations, and is continual.

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