Chris Wilcox, Vice President of Sales and Business Development for Nutrinsic, explains how a single-cell protein made from waste nutrients can help replace fish meal in farmed fish diets.
Fishing and farming has continued to increase in recent years, driven by global demand for protein and currently grows at unsustainable levels. For example, wild fish catch has drastically declined over the last few decades; and fish farming has grown exponentially to make up the difference. Human per capita consumption of fish and meat protein is approximately 20 grams per day, or 58.7 million tons per year.
Farmed fish and animals add to the burden, requiring large catches of wild forage fish that is turned into fishmeal. For example, stocks of Atlantic Coastal Menhaden, which is just one type of fish used in fishmeal, has decreased by 86 per cent in 30 years, demonstrating a real need for the development of sustainable alternative protein options.
One such option, which addresses the issue of sustainability and generates a value-added product, is the production of single-cell protein (SCP).
Nutrinsic upcycles underutilised nutrients for food and beverage, biofuel and other industries to produce ProFloc, a sustainable single-cell protein. This patented process creates an ecosystem where natural, non-GMO bacteria can flourish and efficiently convert nutrients into protein. The result is a highly palatable, one-for-one replacement for fishmeal.
This process has been successfully demonstrated with large-scale pilots at several commercial breweries and is being perfected at a major brewery in Trenton, Ohio, USA. In addition, a large number of effluents from other food industries have been successfully used at bench scale in a laboratory.
The basis of the technology entails modification of the aerobic wastewater treatment process to augment protein production by the heterotrophic bacteria responsible for wastewater treatment.
This is accomplished by providing naturally occurring bacteria with additional nitrogen and micronutrients to supplement underutilized water nutrients to produce large amounts of protein efficiently.
This level of nutrient supplementation is not typical in traditional aerobic water treatment and is one feature that makes our process unique.
Another key aspect of the technology is to limit the mean cell retention time in the aerated basins to promote rapid cell growth and turnover and thus a “harvesting” of young cells at peak protein levels.
Harvesting of SCP is a straight forward process of concentrating, drying, sterilising, and packaging.
Further details from nutrinsic.com.