Arbiom: Trials support wood to feed protein’s candidature as fishmeal substitute

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Kirkikis
© GettyImages/Kirkikis
Biotechnology company, Arbiom, has provided additional details on results from fish feed and functionality trials of its wood-to-food protein ingredient, branded as SylPro, while another SCP player gets US federal funding to optimize its fermentation technology for meal targeted at both the fish and animal feed sectors.

The company said the findings marks a significant step in the path to the commercialization of the product - an enhanced strain of torula yeast (Candida utilis​) - for feed applications.

The yeast based single-cell protein (SCP) is produced using wood-derived media in fermentation and final downstream processing to achieve appropriate properties as a viable replacement for fish meal or plant protein concentrates. 

We reported on preliminary findings of a trial assessing the material handling characteristics of SylPro back in January.​ The company has released more details of the findings from that study and it has also released more data from a trial of its ingredient in fish as well.

Hybrid striped bass study

In the fish trial, done in conjunction with Texas A&M, the nutritional performance of SylPro was evaluated in hybrid striped bass. 

Feeds were formulated with Arbiom’s protein ingredient at various inclusion rates.

The company said growth, body weight, body composition, nutrient digestibility and general gastrointestinal health were evaluated over the course of a 60-day period.

It said the results showed no differences in mortality or feed intake across all diets. There was no statistical difference in body weight gain or feed intake up to the 20% inclusion level of Arbiom’s protein compared to the control diet.

Furthermore, SylPro showed an exceptional crude protein digestibility of 97%, said the producer.

“These findings indicate that SylPro can be used to replace fish meal or plant-based proteins in hybrid striped bass diets and deliver equivalent nutritional performance as conventional protein sources up to 20% inclusion level,” ​it argues.

Salmon, trout and tilapia trials

Trials with the wood derived feed protein in salmon are took place with Arbiom’s partner in the EU-funded SYLFEED project - the Icelandic research institute, Matis. 

"We concluded our trial on Atlantic salmon with Matis assessing the impact of SylPro on performance and the gastrointestinal microbiome. The results are in line with those of hybrid striped bass and we are eager to present the results at Aquaculture Europe 2019 in Berlin, Germany,"​ Ricardo Ekmay, PhD, vice president of nutrition for Arbiom, told FeedNavigator.

And INRA in France is due to carry out a study of the product in Rainbow Trout. 

"The trout study at INRA is scheduled to begin by the end of the year through the AquaExcel 2020 program,"​ added Ekmay,

Material handling trial

Arbiom also carried out another piece of research with Texas A&M to determine how easy the wood derived ingredient is to use in terms of feed processing.

The results suggest that SylPro performs well in a range of extrusion conditions at varying inclusion levels in extruded feed, said the company. The findings also showed additional functional binding properties were conferred, which suggests SylPro could reduce the need for binding agents, it continued. The researchers concluded that Arbiom’s protein ingredient behaves in a similar, or superior, way to conventional protein ingredients in extruded feeds, said the producer.

“One aspect of novel feed ingredients that tends to get neglected is their functional characteristics as they relate to feed milling operations, their flowability, how well they extrude, those type of questions. Therefore, we spent a fair bit of time and effort evaluating those characteristics of SylPro. Texas A&M did a kind of cradle to grave evaluation of it [in that respect],” ​Ekmay told us previously.

Headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, Arbiom has offices in Paris, France, and Norton, Virginia, where it operates a pilot plant.

NovoNutrients wins federal funding 

Meanwhile, another single cell protein producer, NovoNutrients, based in the US, has been awarded funding​ to the tune of $300,000 by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) for a technology focused project.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US will partner with the California company to improve computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models to identify optimal efficient and productive bioreactor designs and operating conditions for NovoNutrients’ gas fermentation technology to enable commercial conversion of CO2 into aqua and animal feed, NovoMeal. 

NovoNutrients fermentation technology utilizes energy from hydrogen to transform industrial carbon dioxide emissions into what it terms 'premium' feed ingredients and other 'valuable' products. The company said the key to its production process is its patent-pending framework for defined microbial consortia that grows on that CO2/H2 mix. 

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