Wood-to-food technology achieves major milestone

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Arbiom, an agricultural-biotechnology company developing solutions to convert wood into protein for feed and food applications, has completed continuous, stable operation of its fermentation technology over a seven-day period without contamination or product quality issues, as part of an ongoing demonstration program.

Arbiom’s technology enables wood waste and residues to be upcycled to produce a sustainable, natural, and nutritional protein-rich ingredient, called ‘SylPro’ – a single-cell protein composed of dried inactive yeast microorganisms, which are grown using wood substrates to feed the yeast via a fermentation stage of the production process.

The protein ingredient is produced using wood-derived media in fermentation and final downstream processing to achieve appropriate properties as a viable alternative to plant and animal protein sources used today.

It should be noted that not only is Arbiom’s technology differentiated with wood as the feedstock, but its microorganism (a strain of Torula yeast) is already approved for use in feed and food applications. Other sources of new proteins in development, such as insects, bacteria, fungi, and algae, are still in the process of seeking regulatory review and approvals.

Successful trial

During a recent demonstration program, fermentation and downstream process stages ran smoothly and continuously, successfully producing over a half-ton of SylPro, exceeding Arbiom’s initial target. To complete the continuous run, Arbiom worked with BBEPP, a partner in the SYLFEED Consortium, at BBEPP’s facility in Belgium.

Transitioning from batch to continuous operations is essential in scaling-up the company’s industrial biotechnology to commercial production, as this achievement strongly improves process economics of a representative commercial production facility. As such, the company claims continuous operation of Arbiom’s fermentation process in partnership with BBEPP is a major step forward in commercialising its technology to economically produce SylPro.

This significant achievement is a testament to our strong collaboration with Arbiom and the dedication of everyone on the team,” said Muriel Dewilde, business development manager with BBEPP. “We look forward to working with Arbiom to build on this successful demonstration as the company continues to scale-up its process technology.”

We are very pleased to have achieved this latest advancement in commercialisation of Arbiom’s technology, with continuous operation and stable, robust process performance, at demonstration-scale,” added Marc Chevrel, Arbiom CEO. “It is a critical milestone for Arbiom’s team and partners, who are dedicated to the success of Arbiom’s mission: To lead the future of food production by commercializing Wood-to-Food technology, as a nutritional, sustainable solution to feed society without harming the planet.”

To date, Arbiom has completed more than 1,500 hours of process scale-up operations. By the end of 2020, Arbiom will have run its bioconversion process continuously at the 15m³ scale (15,000 litres), as part of the company’s demonstration program.

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