The Minnesota-based agri-giant announced last week that it would be expanding its portfolio of alternative aquafeed ingredients by incorporating a fermentation-based single-cell protein (SCP), developed and produced by White Dog Labs.
The feed protein is intended to be an alternative to using fishmeal in some aquaculture feeds.
The protein product, called ProTyton, expands the range and types of novel feed ingredients that Cargill can access, said Jeff Kazin, director of risk management and sourcing for Cargill’s aqua nutrition business.
“Cargill is continuing to build a portfolio of novel nutrient sources for our customers,” he added.
Cargill has also invested with Calysta and several third-party investors in NouriTech's methane gas generated SCP, branded as FeedKind. Construction of a commercial scale production facility for FeedKind is still underway.
“The technology being worked on by White Dog Labs (WDL) is substantially different than that of Calysta,” Kazin told FeedNavigator. “Our collaboration with WDL improves the diversification of our portfolio, which will improve our ability to deliver nutrients in an ever-changing economic and regulatory climate.”
Working with WDL as part of that portfolio was of interest to Cargill because of the company’s industry knowledge and management style, said Kazin. “Plus, the WDL team approached Cargill with a solid understanding of the salmon industry and a goal of producing a commercially viable nutrient.”
The company’s single-cell protein ingredient also provides a unique nutrient profile and has good digestibility, he said. “We are constantly searching for new ingredients that have a lower price point, are more efficient, or can be produced in a more sustainable method."
Made up of 80% protein, ProTyton is said to offer higher protein content than typical fishmeal. And like fishmeal, ProTyton offers an attractive amino acid profile with 40% essential amino acids, said WDL.
“Flexibility in formulating feeds lowers the long-term cost of feed for our salmon customers,” said Kazin. “The more nutrient tools we have in the ‘toolbox,’ the more successful our customers will be.”
Working with White Dog Labs
WDL has also completed its own feed research using the protein ingredient, said Bryan Tracy, CEO with White Dog Labs, Inc.
The company said its SCP is non-GMO.
"We convert corn protein and sufficiently remove corn inputs from the final ProTyton product, such that on a DNA basis, we are free of GM corn inputs," said Tracy.
Discussions with Cargill on it using the protein product in fish feed started last year, he told us.
In terms of what is next for the tie-up, he said: “First and foremost is execution on scale-up and delivery of product."
WDL is in the process of building a new, 3,000-ton production facility in Nebraska. Then work will continue to find additional applications for the feed protein. “It’s not a one size fits all – a salmon diet isn’t a shrimp feed,” Tracy said.
Cargill is intended to be only one of several clients for the company, as WDL looks to expand its customer base, he added.
Single-cell protein testing, use
The initial interest is in using ProTyton in diets for salmon and trout.
“Cargill has done chemical composition tests and fish trials on the material originating from WDL pilot facility,” Kazin said. “The tested material holds promise as an additional tool in feeding salmon.”
In trials that WDL completed, the feed ingredient was mixed with fishmeal in salmon diets and was found to lower total feed costs and allow for a lower feed conversation ratio (FCR) than a diet with only fishmeal, according to company information.
When several levels of the feed protein were used in the diets of shrimp facing a challenge from Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS), shrimp survival rates increased linearly as more of the protein was included in the diet compared to a commercial diet, according to WDL data.
White Dog Lab development
The feed ingredient company is currently in the process of building a smaller commercial and demonstration facility, said Tracy. That facility is scheduled to be completed in early 2020 and it will act as a bridge to the establishment of a full-sized commercial facility shortly after.
In addition to the protein ingredient ProTyton, the company also generates a liquid butyrate feed additive, MiruTyton, and is adapting its fermentation technology to generate a probiotic type of product called BioTyton, he said. Adding, “That’s in development stages as well.”
“The science of using butyrate additives is pretty well established, [but] the economics are tenuous,” Tracy said. However, the company is seeking to provide its additive at a lower price point to allow for its use in multiple types of feed.
The intention is to work or partner with “world-class strategics” to help focus and hone product development for the company’s feed ingredients and additives, he said.
Working with larger companies, like Cargill, provides insight on market needs along with a depth of knowledge about topics like regulation and supply gaps.
“We’re extremely fortunate to be working with them,” he said of the interaction with Cargill. “They’ve been tremendous.”