New York startup emerges as top contender in Soy Innovation Challenge

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/RCarner
© GettyImages/RCarner

Related tags Soybean meal Methane Milk Dairy

Clean Label Solution, a startup based in Ithaca, New York, is one of four finalists in the Soy Innovation Challenge, a collaborative effort led by the United Soybean Board, the Yield Lab Institute, and other partners.

That initiative responds to the burgeoning use of soybean oil as a key component in renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel within the US, a trend that is anticipated to significantly increase the production of soybean meal (SBM), potentially leading to an oversupply in the industry. The challenge aims to confront this issue directly by focusing on enhancing the utilization and value of SBM.

Clean Label Solution, which recently also secured $250K after participating in the Grow-NY business competition, specializes in producing soy-based feed tailored for dairy cattle, offering farmers a product that it claims optimizes their animals' diet, reduces costs, enhances nutritional intake, and improves milk and milk fat production, all without relying on imported palm oil.

Its flagship product, Bi-Pass Pro+, boasts a high content of bypass protein (39-41%) and bypass oil (19%), coupled with superior intestinal protein digestibility (77-81%) when drawn against traditional roasted soybean and SMB, reported the company's founder and CEO, Mohammad Arshadi.

The product claims are backed by validation work at Cornell University and at Dairyland Laboratories Inc, he added.

Arshadi earned his PhD in organic chemistry from Isfahan University of Technology in Iran before pursuing postdoctoral research at Cornell from 2017 to 2020. Inspired to optimize protein digestion in dairy cattle, he co-founded Clean Label Solution in 2019. 

“Dairy farmers have observed that at least 10 to 20% of the protein in traditional soy-based feed is lost or wasted as manure due its poor digestibility and its inadequate processing inside the cow’s rumen,” he told us.

Methane emissions

The startup’s proprietary fermentation process also addresses common toxicity issues in cows linked to soybean oil by fostering a healthier rumen microbial population, providing a methane emissions reduction benefit as well as enhancing digestion efficiency, he continued.

“The methane emissions data and microbial population of regular roasted soybean and Bi-Pass Pro+ have been evaluated and compared by Fermentrics, a lab based in Ottawa in Canada. Our product, via our fermentation process, results in an increase in bacteria that inhibit methane release in the rumen.”

The soy-based dairy product has seen market success. “Last year we sold over 4,000 tons of our product to dairy farmers in upstate New York. Their production costs were reduced by around $0.30 to $0.50 per cow per day because they removed palm oil from the ration and use our product as a source of the protein and fat. Those farmers also saw an increase in milk and milk fat production.”


Partnership with a local soy producer allowed Arshadi access to beans and a logistical network for delivery of the product to those dairy operations. 

He is now collaborating with other soy and dairy industry stakeholders in upstate New York with the aim of expanding production capacity and market reach.

Arshadi hopes to eventually develop soy-based solutions for beef and aquaculture, targeting sectors such as salmon and shrimp farming.

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