Scottish start-up wins contract to support feed protein trials led by Silicon Valley innovator

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

L-R Raminta Kazlauskaite, Joey Humble and Martin Llewellyn of SalmoSim
L-R Raminta Kazlauskaite, Joey Humble and Martin Llewellyn of SalmoSim

Related tags gut simulator Salmon Single cell protein

SalmoSim, a salmon simulator start-up, has secured its first commercial contract, supporting trials for an alternative aquaculture feed protein source.

Using a gut simulator that mimics the digestive tract of Atlantic salmon, SalmoSim will conduct a trial of the single cell feed ingredient produced by California headquartered SCP developer, Calysta. Its FeedKind protein is made by fermenting natural gas, and it is being developed to meet the growing global demand for aqua feed protein sources beyond fishmeal and soy.

The SalmoSim team will use the gut simulator equipment to support Calysta’s product quality program while also testing a number of variables in support of new product development.

Digestibility data 

Results from the simulation, taking place at the University of Glasgow, are set to give Calysta valuable data on digestibility.

SalmoSim said its tests are designed to supplement live, in vivo​, salmon feed trials, which can come at huge investment of both cost and time. Testing sites are sporadic and the process can take up to six months to complete, compared to a six-week gut simulation for microbiome simulations and just days for digestibility trials. Each in vivo trial could cost up to £150,000 (US$202K) and by comparison, the simulator is significantly quicker and more cost effective.

Dr Martin Llewellyn, founder of SalmoSim and senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow, said the idea is to provide data that will support the full-scale manufacturing of FeedKind. "SalmoSim can help feed manufacturers with an important pre-screening phase, allowing them to eliminate unviable options without the time and expense associated with full-scale tests,”​ he added. 

Allan LeBlanc, aquaculture lead and VP Calysta, said: “FeedKind has already been validated in a number of fish species, including salmon, but SalmoSim’s capability gives us even more data, which is invaluable as we further demonstrate functional benefits such as maintaining a healthy gut.”


The SalmoSim gut simulator was first developed as part of a collaborative research project that began in 2016, funded in part by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC). The consortium, led by the University of Glasgow, included Nofima, Alltech and Mowi, with the Marine Institute and University College Cork both involved in a linked project.

As well as supporting trials for alternative feed sources, the team behind it say SalmoSim could be used to tackle a range of significant challenges in the aquaculture sector, including trialing novel approaches to limit the impact of sea lice. The company is also exploring the potential for building additional simulators for other fish species.

Calysta has a joint venture with Adisseo, called Calysseo. That JV is building the world’s first commercial FeedKind production facility in Chongqing, China, with 20,000 tons of capacity set to come online in 2022. 

FeedNavigator interviewed ​Dr Martin Llewellyn about the salmon gut stimulator last year.

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