The top three startups now have five days to work with their mentors and prepare for the final stage of the competition.
On September 22, eniferBio, and the other two finalists, Poultrix and Bond Pet Foods, will each give a one-hour PhD-defense-style presentation and Q&A, after which the winner of this year’s challenge will be chosen.
The victor gets to carry out a validation trial with Nutreco.
The competition, which was held for the first time in 2017, looks to identify the best breakthrough innovations within livestock farming, aquaculture and alternative food proteins.
This week saw 15 startups pitch their companies during a three-day virtual event to a jury in their respective categories.
Commenting on those, Nutreco’s director of venturing and head juror for the challenge, Joost Matthijssen, said the ideas were diverse, yet all placed a large focus on finding novel and sustainable ways to address key industry challenges.
Crowned the winner of the aquaculture category, the Enifer Bio team of researchers use industrial side streams, from the forestry sector or the bioethanol industry, that contain renewable carbon sources, to produce Pekilo mycoprotein, a form of single cell protein (SCP) derived from fungi.
The Enifer Bio team says Pekilo fungus' properties make it an ideal organism for SCP production, with the protein touted as a sustainable alternative to fishmeal and soy protein concentrate in fish feed.
The Finnish biotech venture began life in the startup incubator, Launchpad, run by Finnish technical research organization, VTT.
In the livestock category, the jury chose data management and analytics platform showcased by Israeli startup, Poultrix.
That company's platform aims to make livestock production more efficient, sustainable and responsible through remote and real-time monitoring for immediate control.
Alternative proteins finalist
The jury chose Colorado-based pet food company, Bond Pet Foods, as the winner of the new category, alternative proteins. The US startup is said to be producing high-quality cultured animal proteins through fermentation.