News in research on sustainable microbial feed

By Janne Karin Brodin

Forskere fra NMBU, SLU og NIBIO, prosjektpartnere og deltakere fra industrien.
Forskere fra NMBU, SLU og NIBIO, prosjektpartnere og deltakere fra industrien. Photo: Ingjerd Dønnem

The university sector, the research sector, the industry and the funding agencies were present at the workshop on recent developments in microbial feed ingredients, which was organised by Foods of Norway and the projects NordicFeed and ForestFeed.

If we are to achieve the government's goal that all feed must be sustainable by 2030, and if Norway is to achieve the major national climate targets of a 55 per cent reduction by 2030, we must produce new sustainable feed ingredients on a large scale. These must be based on the conditions we have in Norway, which consist of natural resources and gas technology. 

"We are working on all of this, and microbes are an important part of the solution," says Margareth Øverland, centre director of Foods of Norway.

The workshop, which was arranged at NMBU on 26 September with around 130 participants, was based on research from Foods of Norway and the spin-off projects NordicFeed and ForestFeed.

Our neighbouring countries have opened their eyes to us, and the ForestFeed project involves Germany, Finland, Sweden and Canada. The project focuses on forest-based innovation.

"We will work hard to test new raw materials based on different types of residual streams from forest. We will also scale up production and run field trials with salmon," says Øverland.

The mycoprotein Paecilomyces variotiis (PEKILO) is of high interest. The protein is cheap to produce and has proven to be favourable in terms of nutritional value. The microbes become a protein-rich raw material in feed for salmon.

The raw material contains about 65 per cent high-quality protein, a favourable amino acid composition in relation to the salmon's needs, and has a digestibility of up to 90 per cent.

"We have now completed two major trials, and the results look very interesting in terms of growth, and feed intake.

The feed has also shown to have beneficial health effects for the fish.

"The results are so interesting that we are now running an infection trial with live pathogens here at the NMBU campus to test the health effects of this novel protein feed ingredient on salmon.

Research results for microbial ingredients for both fish and livestock

In addition to researchers from Foods of Norway presenting their results, several partners presented their research results on microbial ingredients for both fish and livestock, and news in the processing of microalgae.

The industry's expectations

After lunch, the industry presented their inputs and expectations. One of the future producers of microbes based on gas, Gass2Feed, presented its use of biological CO2 as an input factor for the production of proteins from bacteria.

Industry partner Bio3 wants to utilise the results from Foods of Norway and is planning to build a factory that will be completed in 2026. "They will initially use the yeast varieties we have worked with and documented," says Øverland.

There was also input from the major fish feed producers Biomar, Cargill and Skretting. Felleskjøpet and Norgesfôr were also present. In addition, NIBIO was present, as they have worked a lot on fermentation of residual raw materials for biogas, and collaboration on fermentation of microalgal biomass for feed would be interesting.

There was a good mix of the university sector, the research sector and industry at the workshop.  The fact that participants from the Research Council of Norway, FHF and Innovation Norway were also present is significant for the way forward.

"It is important, because then our message gets out, not least to the policymakers. Now we must think about the future. We have a social mission and we need to do something that really makes a difference," says Øverland.

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