A US biotech company has opened a new manufacturing plant on Teesside to make a feed protein material through a gas fermentation process. The material, said to be a substitute for fishmeal in animal and aquaculture feeds, will be marketed by Cargill.

California-based Calysta has developed the patented FeedKind protein, which it describes as a “proprietary, competitively priced new fish and animal feed ingredient targeted at replacing fishmeal.  It is a natural, traceable and safe non-animal source of protein, approved for sale and use in many animal feeds in the EU and has been tested on multiple fish species, including salmon”. Calysta specialises in patented microbes and biocatalysts able to convert the methane component of natural gas into liquids, chemicals and fuels for further processing, including as a feed protein 

The facility at Teesside’s Wilton centre will manufacture sample quantities, becoming fully operational in Q4 2016. It has attracted a conditional Exceptional Regional Growth Fund (EGRF) award of £2.8 million, with Calysta envisaging a potential investment of £30m over the next decade at the site, creating 35 to 40 jobs at full commercial production.

The Wilton facility is owned by the Centre for Process Innovation, part of the UK government’s public: private Catapult technology innovation programme. But Catalyst is constructing a “novel loop reactor” adjacent to the CPI.

 Calysta FeedKind

Calysta FeedKind

Calysta has a partnership agreement with Cargill for the production of FeedKind protein in North America, with a world scale plant expected to open in the US by 2018. The two companies have entered into a global joint marketing agreement for the material. Samples of FeedKind will be available for evaluation from early 2017, and Calysta is already involving companies such as Marine Harvest and Sainsbury’s in the UK. Once established in aquaculture, it will move onto the pig, poultry and cattle sectors.

“The opening of this plant represents the end of a decade of development and heralds a new era in the race to sustainably feed the world’s growing population,” states Calysta president and chief executive Dr Alan Shaw. “By 2050 the global population is expected to rise from the 7.4 billion today to 9.6 billion, requiring 70% more protein than is currently available. Calysta can help meet this need by supplying the aquaculture industry with a naturally produced, sustainable and traceable feed alternative to replace conventional ingredients based on fishmeal and soya. Celesta’s proprietary technology enables retailers and consumers to have increased confidence in the integrity of their food.

“Our first focus is the salmon farming industry – FeedKind protein has been shown to improve growth rates, nitrogen retention and gut health in Atlantic salmon.”