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White Dog Labs to purchase renewables plant in Minnesota

Plant will be used to produce WDL’s sustainable protein for aquaculture and naturally produced butyrate animal feed additive.

White Dog Labs (WDL) announced Feb. 4 that the district court for Morrison County, Minn., has approved its bid to acquire the Central Minnesota Renewables plant in Little Falls, Minn.

The plant originally produced 20 million gal. of ethanol per year but was upgraded in 2016 to produce butanol and has several of the unique production capabilities required to produce WDL's ProTyton sustainable protein source for aquaculture.

"We are happy to announce this agreement and will work with local and state authorities to reopen the plant as quickly as possible,” WDL chief executive officer Bryan Tracy said.

Cargill and WDL recently announced an offtake agreement for ProTyton, an alternative protein to fish meal, which is a critical feed ingredient in aquaculture. ProTyton, which is made up of 80% protein, is sustainable and scalable because it is made from corn, but it is also affordable since it shares production costs with its co-product, MiruTyton, a butyrate-rich fermentation-soluble that has been shown to substantially reduce the prevalence of salmonella and campylobacter in challenged broilers, in addition to improving feed conversion ratio and weight gain.

WDL said it is currently negotiating a MiruTyton offtake agreement with an undisclosed feed additive company.

While WDL has developed and scaled up the anaerobic fermentation process for these products, its plant operation will be supported by the management of Midwest Renewable Energy (MRE).

“We have been collaborating with WDL for the past two years and are excited to support the conversion and ramp-up of their first plant,” MRE chairman of the board Jim Jandrain said. “We are impressed with the simple ProTyton process and are looking forward for MRE to become the second ProTyton plant.”

The Central Minnesota Renewables plant has a CleanSugar production module made by FQPT. Membrane filtration will be provided by Graver Technologies, and the re-engineering of the plant for ProTyton is being carried out by AdvanceBio.

"We are looking forward to working with our customers, partners and the authorities to rehire most of the plant employees and start production,” Tracy said. “We hope to profitably do our part in sustainably enhancing and improving the world’s food supply.”

WDL, a biotech company focused on animal health and nutrition, was established in 2012 to address global challenges such as food sustainability and climate change. It is funded by Musea Ventures, the investment arm of the Somekh family. The company has unique, world-class expertise in microbiome-derived organisms that have promising implications for nutrition and health. WDL has invented a proprietary process (ProtocolB) for the isolation, selection and cultivation of microbiome-derived organisms and has developed MixoFerm, a fermentation technology that consumes sugar and gases, thus increasing product yield in industrial fermentation. WDL is applying this expertise to develop and commercialize the "Tyton" platform of unique products.

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