Unibio to boost protein production

Skretting signs letter of intent to start testing methane-based microbial protein product in aquaculture feeds.

May 6, 2020

3 Min Read
Unibio feed replacement

As a result of participating in the FEED-X program, Unibio announced that it has engaged with Skretting, one of the world’s largest suppliers of feed for aquaculture production and a founding member of FEED-X.

Unibio said Skretting has signed a letter of intent and will begin testing Unibio's Uniprotein microbial protein as a feed ingredient for fish and shrimp feed. The letter indicates Skretting’s willingness to purchase thousands of metric tons of the product if the testing goes according to expectations, the announcement said.

Unibio and its partners would need to invest millions of dollars to build the production capacity needed to realize the ambitions of the potential collaboration, and the potential revenue generation will be counted in hundreds of millions of dollars over the years to come, Unibio said.

Sustainable organic protein

According to Unibio, its Uniprotein is produced based on fermentation of a microbial culture using methane as feedstock. It is an organic product and can easily be produced in very large scale. The ambition is to utilize methane, which would otherwise be wasted or put to use in less-efficient processes, the company said. The quality of the microbial protein product is high and can easily replace proteins like super-prime fish meal and highly concentrated soy products, Unibio said.

Skretting procurement director Robert van den Breemer said, “The available volumes, startup stage product pricing and low value chain commitment of alternative ingredients today remain a limitation towards meeting the needs of the aquaculture industry in the future. We believe that our commitment with Unibio brings us another step closer towards ensuring the sustainable future of the aquaculture industry and fulfilling Skretting’s mission of ‘Feeding the Future.’”

Unibio chief executive officer Henrik Busch-Larsen added, “The collaboration with Skretting holds big potential for Unibio in terms of taking us to the next level of becoming a significant worldwide supplier of low-footprint and environmentally friendly protein.”

Unibio and Skretting met through the FEED-X program, which was set up to shift 10% of the global feed industry to significantly reduce feed-related environmental impacts by adopting alternative feed ingredients and feed-related technologies into value chains for aquaculture. The FEED-X program is supported by Skretting, IKEA, World Wildlife Fund and other mission-aligned partners.

The expectations for Unibio’s contribution to the FEED-X program are high. With Uniprotein, Unibio will enable the overcoming of some of the larger challenges FEED-X is designed for: to tackle the sustainability challenges of producing feed for animals and fish at the industry and global levels and at a fast pace. In the long term, FEED-X wants to be able to provide the world’s growing population with food produced in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

Unibio is a leading industrial biotech company in Denmark that developed a fermentation method for producing a sustainable organic and highly concentrated protein for the food and feed markets, decoupling protein production from farming and fishing. The first licensed full-scale plant, built by Protelux, is being commissioned in Russia. The sustainable organic protein will be sold through a network of distributors as well as to large key accounts around the world.

Unibio is owned by the founding Busch-Larsen family as well as by a group of private investors and Mitsubishi Corp.

Skretting is a leading global provider of innovative and sustainable nutritional solutions and services for the aquaculture industry. Skretting has production facilities in 19 countries on five continents and manufactures and delivers high-quality feeds from hatching to harvest for more than 60 species. Its total annual production volume of feed is more than 2 million metric tons.

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