Foods of Norway project: ‘Large-scale production of feed products from wood is possible’

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

Hydrolysis equipment in Borregaards Biorefinery Demo plant used for converting cellulose to sugars shipped to Lallemand in Estonia.  The process is a patented hydrolysis process developed by Borregaard.  Photo: Martin Lersch
Hydrolysis equipment in Borregaards Biorefinery Demo plant used for converting cellulose to sugars shipped to Lallemand in Estonia. The process is a patented hydrolysis process developed by Borregaard. Photo: Martin Lersch

Related tags: Norway, Yeast, sugar, Salmon, pigs

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Lallemand Animal Nutrition, and Borregaard say they have nailed large-scale production of yeast from local, sustainable resources.

The Foods of Norway partners achieved a successful industrial scale-up of 1,600 kg of yeast produced from sugars from Norwegian spruce trees in an experimental demo.

Foods of Norway is a Centre for Research-based Innovation (CRI) at the NMBU. It is funded by the Research Council of Norway and 20 industry partners. The center aims to contribute to growth and increased value creation in the Norwegian aquaculture and agriculture industries by developing sustainable feed ingredients from natural bioresources not suitable for direct human consumption.

Sugar from the spruce trees was produced by biorefinery company, Borregaard, and this was used to grow the yeast at the Lallemand production site in Estonia. 

1 - Salutaguse plant
The Lallemand yeast production plant in Salutaguse, Estonia, where the scale-up was conducted. Photo: Lallemand

The partners said processes could be scaled up due to the extensive work done by scientists at NMBU and Lallemand, which was coordinated by Foods of Norway.

Next steps: Feeding trials

The yeast will be used in large-scale feeding trials with pigs and Atlantic salmon, in collaboration with feed companies in Foods of Norway. 

"The salmon feeding trial will start the first week of October, 2021 and will last until the end of June, 2022. It will be run by researchers in Foods of Norway in collaboration with Biomar. The piglet feeding trial will start a bit later, either this fall or early 2022, and it will last for about 12 weeks. The feed company involved in this is Felleskjøpet Fôrutvikling,​" Bente Paulson, a spokesperson for NMBU, told us.

Commenting on those trials was Professor Margareth Øverland, head of Foods of Norway: “Our work in Foods of Norway follows the entire value chain from the tree biomass to the final meat and fish products. The larger-scale trials will provide important information on how these novel feeds will affect the growth, health and product quality of the animals as well as the production cost and sustainability of using these ingredients.” 

Mathieu Castex, director of R&D, Lallemand Animal Nutrition, also weighed in on the milestone, acknowledging that there is still a lot to be done before commercial development can be realized. “But this achievement reinforces the technical feasibility of the concept.”

Gudbrand Rødsrud, technology director, Borregaard, agrees. He said this large-scale production experiment "demonstrates the opportunities that exist for developing sustainable feed products from wood and it will enable documentation of business potentials through large scale feeding trials.” 

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