By Marc Chevrel, CEO at Arbiom.
The projected growth of the global population will place strain on natural resources and our global food supply chain, hindering our ability to sustainably feed future generations.
In the context of the food system, “sustainable” means we must create more nutritional food while using less land, water and resources to produce and deliver it. Arbiom’s wood-to-food technology platform represents one solution to the sustainability challenges of future food production by converting wood, a renewable non-food feedstock, into food – notably, a nutritional, affordable, traceable and sustainable new protein source.
The forest products industry is embracing the opportunity for wood to be the foundation of a bio-based economy as paper demand declines and the potential to produce new, higher-value products increases. In an age of resource scarcity, wood is a sustainable, renewable, efficient carbon source with strong existing supply chains and infrastructure in the forest products industry. Furthermore, since 30-70% of the wood biomass entering a mill is often unused and left to be burned for power and steam, Arbiom’s (@arbiom) wood-to-food technology enables these by-product streams to be utilised and upcycled into feedstock for food production.
Arbiom wood-to-food process technology
Arbiom’s technology development is rooted in our team’s biomass fractionation expertise and R&D efforts to improve how to extract and isolate the many compounds contained in wood. In our process, wood hydrolysates are extracted in a way that they can be used to feed and grow single cell organisms (yeast) via fermentation. The yeast is then separated from the fermentation media and the intact yeast organism inactivated and dried to a powder that is a protein-rich ingredient called SylPro.
To demonstrate the nutritional performance of Arbiom SylPro, the first product from our wood-to-food technology platform, Arbiom has completed several feed trials evaluating SylPro compared to conventional protein sources. In 2019, Arbiom conducted four feed trials, confirming SylPro delivers required nutritional performance as a protein source in feed for Atlantic salmon, hybrid striped bass, weanling pigs and dog food. The consistent and successful trial results, in terms of growth, digestibility and gut health benefits, validate that SylPro is a high-performance protein.
In addition to trial results validating SylPro’s nutritional performance as a protein source, Arbiom conducted a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) comparing SylPro to conventional protein sources used in animal feed, such as soy protein concentrate and fish meal. The LCA study accounted for all unit operations in Arbiom’s production process, from forest to end use in feed.
Thus far, the LCA results indicate that SylPro has the lowest impact on climate change compared to conventional proteins, calculated as total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per kg of protein. This data confirms the wood-based protein is a sustainable, traceable alternative. The LCA was conducted as part of the Arbiom-led SYLFEED Project, and additional LCA results will be released as SYLFEED continues to support commercialization of Wood-to-Food technology.
Arbiom has conducted ongoing commercial trials, R&D and engineering activities as we work toward designing our first commercial-scale plant. We are currently partnered with tolling facilities to produce SylPro in the interim of Arbiom’s first commercial production facility.
Arbiom’s Wood-to-food technology represents one innovation that will help shape the next industrial revolution of our food production system for the health of humans and our planet.
 SYLFEED is a European project funded by the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement N°745591 More information on http://www.sylfeed.com
To learn more about Arbiom, visit www.arbiom.com
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