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Invest Nebraska announces investment in White Dog Labs

WDL’s protein product for aquaculture feed complements ethanol production.

November 21, 2018

3 Min Read
Invest Nebraska announces investment in White Dog Labs

Invest Nebraska recently announced that it has added to its growing portfolio of high-growth companies with an investment in White Dog Labs (WDL), a business focused on producing feed for the aquaculture industry.

"We conducted due diligence on WDL’s technology, products and plans and are extremely optimistic about the company’s potential,” Invest Nebraska chief executive officer Dan Hoffman said. “WDL’s entrepreneurship, technology, products, markets and emphasis on sustainability fit nicely with our profile of high-potential companies, and we are excited that they have selected Nebraska for their first plant.”

Invest Nebraska, the state’s public/private venture development organization, was joined by existing WDL investors in this investment.

WDL has developed and scaled up ProTyton, a single cell protein ingredient that exhibits upwards of 85% crude protein and more than 40% essential amino acids. ProTyton fermentation, similar to that of ethanol, is a simple anaerobic process, thus allowing co-location with ethanol plants, Invest Nebraska said. The first ProTyton production plant is to be co-located with the Midwest Renewable Energy (MRE) ethanol plant in Sutherland, Neb.

WDL CEO Dr. Bryan Tracy said his company is "certainly pleased with the investment," noting that the start-up of the Sutherland plant is planned for the fourth quarter of 2019.

WDL had signed a collaboration agreement with MRE in October to locate the ProTyton plant within MRE’s ethanol plant in Sutherland. The plant will initially produce 3,000 metric tons of ProTyton per year and can expand to 30,000 mt per year as early as 2021.

According to WDL, the product is highly digestible, performs well in multiple aquaculture diets and demonstrated health benefits beyond nutrition. Independent testing demonstrated that the product can counter early mortality syndrome in shrimp, and its inclusion in Atlantic salmon feed reduces the overall diet cost while maintaining performance.

"Having demonstrated ProTyton benefits, we are now responding to customer requests and accelerating our time to market via the collaboration with MRE,” Tracy said.

MRG general manager Tom Wilson added, “This agreement helps us maximize the utilization of our ethanol processing assets and offers us a diversification option.”

“We are designing the plant in collaboration with the engineering firms AdvanceBio and FQPT and working closely with equipment suppliers,” Tracy said. “Our goal is to facilitate easy duplication of ProTyton production at other ethanol plants that might be interested in diversification.”

WDL, with headquarters in New Castle, Del., was established in 2012 on the foundation of synthetic biology, bio-process development and product development to address global challenges including food sustainability and climate change. The company has invented a proprietary process, Protocol B, for the isolation, selection and cultivation of microbiome-derived clostridia, which has resulted in large, diverse and novel strain libraries.

WDL has also invented a novel class of fermentation technology called MixoFerm that can improve the efficiency of fermentation processes by 50-100%, which can improve production economics for bio-products ranging from fuels and chemicals to protein rich feeds.

MixoFerm employs Clostridia microorganisms to simultaneously convert carbohydrates (e.g., sugar) and gas (e.g., carbon dioxide, hydrogen and carbon monoxide) into many desirable biochemical and protein-rich animal feeds, WDL said.

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