KnipBio says its SCP meal has benefits for RAS production

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/HAKINMHAN
© GettyImages/HAKINMHAN

Related tags RAS Aquaculture Single cell protein meal

KnipBio reports that fish fed a diet containing 5% of its KnipBio Meal (KBM) – a single cell protein - had significantly lower levels of geosmin and methylisoborneol (MIB), the compounds responsible for creating off-flavors in RAS-raised fish.

The Massachusetts-based biotechnology company has developed KBM - a range of aquafeed ingredients built around its ‘PROTEINplus' technology that combines immunonutrients with single cell protein. 

KnipBio partnered with BlueStream Aquaculture, a trout producer and Great Falls Aquaculture, a barramundi producer, to conduct the initial feed trials.

The company said the trials also indicated additional strong metrics in fish fed a KBM diet, including strong weight gain, growth time, and survival rates.

Larry Feinberg, CEO of KnipBio, said off-flavors can be a serious issue for RAS farms.

“The standard solution to address this is to conduct a purge process where the fish are transferred to tanks containing clean water and feed is removed. The process can last as long as 14 days and during this time, the fish lose body mass. Our trials indicate the need for purging can potentially be eliminated when fish are fed a diet containing KBM, resulting in significantly improved RAS economics, better process reliability, and enhanced consumer satisfaction.”

GRAS approval

Last month, KnipBio announced that it had received a second Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use of the KBM in aquaculture feeds.

This endorsement was for the use of single cell protein meal in feeds for shrimp and other crustaceans and comes on the heels of its previous GRAS approval for KBM as a feed ingredient for finfish​.

KBM is the first single cell protein to achieve GRAS approval for both finfish and crustaceans, said the US innovator.

“As new ingredients become available to producers, there is a need for validation and to demonstrate efficacy. Obtaining this independent designation from US-FDA and subsequent listing into the AAFCO manual, indicates just that,”​ said Larry Feinberg, CEO of KnipBio.

GRAS approval from the FDA is based on a complex review process that can take years to complete, and that this second approval, he said, is another important milestone for the SCP producer, supporting it in its ambition to further penetrate the $50bn global aquafeed market.

“It moves us significantly ahead in producing alternative proteins.”

Third-party manufacturing 

In terms of where KnipBio is at right now in terms of production scale-up, Feinberg told FeedNavigator in July: “The company has recently completed a series of commercial scale manufacturing runs as recently as just this past week at a third-party manufacturing facility with strong consistency and reliability. We are pleased with the results and think this sets the stage to achieve more competitive production economics in the near future.”

KBM and other single cell protein technologies still need to achieve cost parity with incumbent proteins.

KnipBio has been working over the last 12 months to diversify its feedstock​.

“The team has made fantastic progress with converting low-cost, agricultural waste feedstocks to high value protein. COVID-19 has no doubt complicated global economies, energy markets such as ethanol, along with our own priorities and development timelines. So that activity is progressing, but at a slower rate, currently.”​  

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