Nutreco Feed Tech Challenge 2018

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From Wood to Food

Monogastric animals (fish, swine, poultry) compete directly for food resources (fishmeal, soy, corn, etc.), but have higher feed conversion ratios. Ruminants may utilize non-food biomass to produce protein but not as efficiently. Arbiom is combining the best of these two: using non-food biomass as the basis for feeding more efficient species.

Arbiom is committed to meeting the sharp increase in global nutrition requirements by transforming lignocellulosic biomass such as wood – the most sustainable and readily available carbon source in the world – into a higher value protein product for feed and food consumption. 

Arbiom produces a high-protein yeast product with proprietary bioprocessing technology that converts wood into highly fermentable hydrolysates which serve as growth medium for single cell protein (SCP).

Arbiom has developed its bioconversion process technology precisely with the goal of an optimal recovery of the value inherent within renewable, non-food, readily available biomass feedstock, such as wood. Arbiom uses wood and wood waste that is natural, not genetically modified, sustainable and available in the volume required to match or exceed the supply of substrates from food crops. 

Woody biomass offers important advantages:

  • Natural, sustainable, non-GMO 
  • Additive source of carbon to food supply chain
  • Readily available in large quantities 
  • Advancements in global silviculture practices ensure forest health, productivity and biodiversity are maintained/enhanced
  • Capacity is in line with demand in forest products & paper markets and the excess wood value is not optimized in current production system 
  • Requires no irrigation nor fertilizer
  • Opportunity to leverage the mature industrial sourcing, supply chains and processing infrastructure
  • Enables local protein production in biomass-rich/ protein-poor regions, fostering greater food security

Arbiom’s wood to food process integrates proprietary and off-the-shelf technologies in an economical, waste-free process. Arbiom’s technology encompasses the following stages researched and optimized over the course of Arbiom’s development:

1.Materials (wood sourcing from biomass suppliers) 



4.Downstream processing 

5.Co-product valorization (in development) 

Arbiom’s high-protein ingredient (enhanced torula) is more attractive and differentiated from current available protein sources because of its nutritious value, economical production at scale, traceability and sustainability.

The enhanced amino acid content, particularly lysine, methionine, and threonine, high digestibility (92%), and rich beta glucan/ mannan content helps address two critical issues facing society today: protein sourcing and gastrointestinal health. 

The product specifications are such that it retains the flexibility to be used by multiple market segments. Torula yeast is also devoid of endogenous allergens that are common in milk, egg, wheat, and soy proteins. Torula yeast is already a globally approved feed ingredient/additive, therefore has a shorter route to commercial adoption than competing novel proteins that face regulatory hurdles.

Describe the problem your company wishes to solve and how your product or service will solve it

Arbiom’s vision and execution strategy address the growing nutritional need by integrating a historically non-food source (wood) into the food supply chain to produce protein, requiring less resources and reducing pressure on arable land and water to meet global nutritional needs with a healthier, more sustainable solution.

Our high-protein ingredient (60%+ crude protein) is an ideal high-quality alternative to fish meal for sustainable animal nutrition. Arbiom’s high-protein product therefore helps protect wild fish stocks, marine habitats and conserve the biodiversity of our oceans.

In addition to the opportunity to create value through innovation in the food  industry, the forest products and paper industry is also a mature and established industry offering a prime opportunity for technology to create new, higher-value end products. Arbiom technology is positioned to leverage the industry’s strong existing supply chains and assets focused on sourcing and processing wood.

Arbiom’s technology offers a good solution for traditional wood companies, either by finding a more profitable use of their current residues, which are not or poorly valorized today, or by finding new uses for industries whose markets are in steep decline.  The mature forest products & paper industry supply chains and infrastructure are designed to source a steady long-term supply of biomass making it ideally suited to economically incorporate Arbiom’s technology.

The ability to access and transform such large quantities of material is critical to be able to produce the significant quantities of material to relieve the stresses on fishmeal and of soy.

Describe other business assistance that you are seeking from Nutreco

We would work with Nutreco to define a development plan and milestones, leading to commercial introduction of a new product and commercial scale production. 

As partners in the near-term, Arbiom would like to work with Nutreco’s Swine Research Centre to expand our animal and human feed trials, continue product development and ramp-up sales and marketing activities. Nutreco could provide valuable guidance and advice on study design and marketing and sales strategy of a new product with your expertise and network of existing customers. 

The long-term mission of our partnership would be to drive future commercial scale production and expansion of wood to food technology around the world, representing one of the solutions for the industry to conserve the natural resources of our planet while nourishing humankind.

Are you available to participate in the final event in the Netherlands 28, 29, and 30 May? All expenses will be covered by Nutreco


Describe how the prize - a validation trial in our facilities - could boost the development of your business

Validation trials are a necessity.  Completing a trial with Nutreco would add considerable value to Arbiom’s product, both in terms of technical information as well as marketable claims that would accelerate market adoption and more efficiently clear hurdles to commercialization.

If you already have a website for your business, please share the URL

edited on Mar 20, 2018 by Anthony Scime

teresa debesa 4 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

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Gavin Boerboom 4 months ago

Hi Anthony,

Interesting idea that meets a need we have in the industry by using a rather unlikely source. Really eager to find out more about it! I was just wondering what the standards would have to be of the wood source that you are using. I can imagine that this would have an effect on the process you are using with not all wood sources available for usage. Could you elaborate a little more on this?

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Anthony Scime 4 months ago

Gavin – thanks for the question. We have tested and worked with a variety of lignocellulosic materials, including hardwoods (from Eastern US, France, Russia, Brazil, and other locals), corn stover, rapeseed straw, wheat straw, palm oil residues, softwoods, reed, hemp. In addition to the type of feedstock, other characteristics of the incoming material need to be considered – such as particle size and moisture content. Generally, this is handled by adjusting the pretreatment conditions and with preprocessing. This is done in the early stages of defining a potential project/facility as part of our biomass validation program.

Your vote is appreciated.

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Chris van Bussel 4 months ago


great idea! The high quality / high protein product, which might have additional health benefits due to beta-glucans sounds very interesting. What is the conversion efficiency from wood to final product in terms of kg/kg ? Of course I see it is on wet basis and we are comparing wood against a high protein product, but due you have any numbers on this?



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Anthony Scime 4 months ago

Chris – thanks for the encouragement. It was difficult to decide which ‘theme’ was most appropriate for the submission. There are implications on all the categories. As you noted, we seek to leverage the inherent benefits within wood and SCP to create a healthier, smarter feed. Among our target applications are young animals.

The conversion question you posed is a bit complicated, and not just because of moisture content. For example, different lignocellulosic materials can be converted at different rates based on composition. There are also issues related to which portions of the material are converted, e.g. whether lignin included, and whether aspects like exogenous protein are included in (or excluded from) the final product. Thus, yields from lignocellulosic to SCP product vary greatly. Apologies for the quasi-nonanswer, but I do not want to give a single figure in a public forum and have it misinterpreted.

Your vote is appreciated.

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Saravanan Subramanian 4 months ago

Hi Anthony,

Very interesting concept. What is your ambition for production volume of your product in the coming years? You mentioned you have 'enhanced torula', in which aspect you made enhancement (eg., strain, yield, nutrient profile etc.)? Is your SCP product contains intact cells of torula or the cell walls lysed in the downstream processing?

Best regards,

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teresa debesa 4 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

Reply 0

teresa debesa 4 months ago

Status label added: Full business case submitted

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