special edition: aqua feed innovation

Arbiom reports success for its alternative protein in salmon trial

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/3D_generator
© GettyImages/3D_generator

Related tags Aquaculture novel protein

Arbiom continues feeding trials to expand the breadth and the depth of assessments done on its novel protein ingredient as the company focuses on the path to commercialization.

The North Carolina-based agricultural biotechnology company released details regarding a feeding trial with Atlantic salmon, which it said establishes that its wood-generated ingredient, Sylpro, can be used as an alternative protein for that species.

Arbiom has recently been focusing on assessing SylPro supplementation in feed for carnivorous fish and species that have high-quality protein needs, said Ricardo Ekmay, vice president of nutrition. at that company. “We’ve also evaluated it with hybrid striped bass​."

SylPro is produced from wood through Arbiom’s process, which integrates fractionation and bioconversion technologies to convert wood residues into fermentable substrates for microorganism production through pre-treatment and fermentation processes. The final product is a dried yeast, which can be used then as a nutritional protein source in aquafeed and in feed for other farmed animals.

The salmon feeding trial using SylPro was conducted by Matis Icelandic Food & Biotech Research and Development, as part of the EU-funded, SYLFEED project.

In the study, Atlantic salmon feeds were formulated with Arbiom’s high-protein ingredient as a complement to or replacement for fishmeal and plant-based proteins at various inclusion rates. The study was designed to evaluate the product’s nutritional performance in terms of body weight gain as well as its effects on the gut microbiome, which researchers measured over the course of a five-week trial period.

The findings indicate that SylPro can be used to replace fishmeal or plant-based proteins in feed for juvenile Atlantic salmon, a crucial developmental stage, and deliver equivalent nutritional performance as conventional protein sources up to 20% inclusion level, said the protein developer.

The study results showed no statistical difference in body weight gain for SylPro compared to the control diet up to the 20% inclusion level. Additionally, there were no differences in fish mortality across treatments, reported Arbiom.

“Overall, we had two key findings – we provided weight gain and equivalent performance regardless of what you’re replacing in the formulation,”​ said Ekmay. “The other one that was great to see – and was presented this week at the European aquaculture meeting in Berlin, Germany – was regarding the microbiome of the Atlantic salmon, where we see increased microbial diversity within salmon that were fed SylPro.”

However, more work is needed to understand how increased diversity relates to “biologically relevant outcomes”​ for producers, he told us.

Further trials 

The company is already working on new feeding trials, said Ekmay

“We are expanding to other species, coming up next is rainbow trout as well as Nile tilapia – Nile tilapia being a more omnivorous fish,” ​he said. “In addition, toward the latter of half of 2020, we’re also looking to evaluate SylPro in seabass and sea bream. We hope to have a comprehensive [look] across a multitude of commercially relevant species.”

Headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, Arbiom has offices in Paris, France, and Norton, Virginia, where it operates a pilot plant. The intention, at this stage, is to have a commercial scale manufacturing plant in operation by 2022, he said. A specific location for such a facility has, as yet, not been selected as the company is seeking to partner on the project.  

“The geographies that we’re targeting [for production plant location] tend to be areas that are not protein self-sufficient,” ​he said. 

Arbiom was one of three producers selected as finalists in the 2019 Global Aquaculture Alliance Leadership GOAL event; it will present its strategy at the next phase of those awards in Chennai, India later this month. The other two finalists are Pegasus Science and Ace Aquatec.

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