Field: Sustainable manufacturing
Global Technical function: Bioconverting
Technical Function Unit: Fermentation, Public grant partial funding for R&D
Geographic Area: Sweden

More environmentally friendly fish feed

This project investigates the potential to produce single cell proteins from industrial residual streams from the forest industry, to be used as a part in fish feed. The aim is to replace fish meal, which is often used in fish feed, with a substitute that targets environmental impact reduction.

Trials conducted in the Biorefinery Demo Plant have been successful.

The challenge

Today's production of fishmeal used in fish feed, is a resource-intensive process based on large catches of ocean fish that are ground into fishmeal.

The innovation

In order to address this problem, researchers at SP Processum in cooperation with Domsjö Fabriker and SEKAB have attempted to produce single cell proteins as a replacement product for fishmeal in fish feed. The work was mainly financed by the Swedish Energy Agency, Vinnova and the EU programme Eurostar (public grant partial funding for R&D).

The aim was to produce single cell proteins from industrial residual streams from the forest industry via a bioconverting fermentation process. The product consists of microorganisms that are rich in protein and can be produced by cultivation in bioreactors. The organisms grow on organic residual streams from the forest industry, essentially converting forest to food.

Different types of microorganisms in various industrial waste streams were tested in cultivation trials and optimized at lab scale. In order to produce sufficient amounts of single cell protein for subsequent feed and feeding experiments, experiments in pilot bioreactors were carried out. The resulting single cell protein were then used as substitute for fish meal in different fish feed varieties and used in feeding trials of the fish Tilapia. The feeding trials with the new feed resulted in similar or even better fish growth compared with a fishmeal-based control feed.

Why did it work?

The project is a good example of sustainable manufacturing and part of the success is due to the lab, pilot and demo infrastructure for industrial biotechnology that is available within the SP-group in Örnsköldsvik (Sweden).

Further deployment

Since the project has developed a prototype of a fish feed and has been successful in demonstration in a relevant environment, the innovation achieved level 6 on the TRL scale. A new project has been started and involves looking at the whole value chain (customer identification, etc.), rules for the production and sale of single cell proteins, the design of an industrial demonstration plant as well as further technical development of the concept. The project is a collaboration between SP Processum and four companies within the Processum cluster.