A Scottish aquaculture startup wins contract to support alternative protein trials


SalmoSim has secured its first commercial contract with California-based Calysta, supporting trials for a sustainable alternative protein source that could be rolled-out across the global aquaculture industry

Using a gut simulator that mimics the digestive tract of Atlantic salmon, SalmoSim will conduct a trial of Calysta’s single-cell feed ingredient FeedKind protein, which is made by fermenting natural gas. FeedKind has been developed to meet the growing global demand for nutrients and is designed to be a sustainable alternative protein source for aquaculture.

SalmoSim will use its gut simulator equipment to support Calysta’s product quality programme while also testing a number of variables in support of new product development. Results from the simulation, taking place at the University of Glasgow, will provide Calysta with valuable data on digestibility comparing FeedKind in SalmoSim to existing in vivo data.

Dr Martin Llewellyn, founder of SalmoSim and senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow, said: “Our gut simulation system provides a powerful tool for carrying out basic and applied research into fish digestion and we’re pleased to be supporting Calysta with the development of its alternative protein. In this case, well be looking specifically at batch control to provide data that will support the full-scale manufacturing of FeedKind.

“The aquaculture sector is changing rapidly, with many seeking to find more sustainable ingredients for fish feed that can support future growth as a substitute for wild-caught fish. SalmoSim can help feed manufacturers with an important pre-screening phase, allowing them to eliminate unviable options without the time and expense associated with full-scale tests.”

SalmoSim tests are designed to supplement live salmon feed trials, which can be costly. The process of live trails can take up to six months to complete, compared to a six-week gut simulation for microbiome simulations and just days for digestibility trials. Each in vivo trial could cost up to £150,000 and by comparison, the simulator is significantly quicker and more cost effective.

Calysta is currently the only company in the world able to produce protein from gas at scale. Its Calysseo 50/50 joint venture with Adisseo is building the world’s first commercial FeedKind production facility in Chongqing, China, with 20,000 tonnes of capacity coming online in 2022.

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