DSM-Firmenich has developed new single-cell proteins (SCP), which the company says have the capacity to produce net-zero carbon proteins.
SCP will ensure the sustainability of food systems by partially decoupling animal production from conventional inputs and associated challenges, e.g., fertilizer use, deforestation and water, while helping to fill the projected protein gap, the company said in a press release. The use of SCPs as an animal feed ingredient is a game changer that can reduce the land and water footprint required for animal farming and contribute to 1.5 degrees of global warming goals.
SCPs are, in essence, a protein production powerhouse produced by fermentation technology, with incredible potential for scalability. With very high growth rates, these organisms can produce a considerable amount of protein compared with their initial weight and are the frontrunner when it comes to emerging proteins. These naturally occurring microorganisms can convert platform molecules into proteins, perfectly suited to replace fishmeal, wheat gluten, guar meal, soy or pea protein concentrates and other plant proteins.
SCP provide a readily available, protein-rich microbial biomass, in the form of yeast, bacteria or fungi. This can be achieved by combining biotechnology with new bioscience to train and evolve microorganisms to become super protein producers and maximize the nutritional value of the non-protein part of the cell structures.
SCPs contain all or most essential amino acids required by animals, and can be used for aquaculture, poultry, swine and companion animals for growth and development contain have numerous benefits, including:
- Shorter generation times
- The ability to use different feedstocks or substrates
- No requirements for land
- The possibility to produce continuously throughout the year in any part of the world
- No drop in animal performance when compared to traditional feeds
Alongside their incredible nutritional value, SCPs are a low carbon-intensive microbial protein. SCPs can help close the impending protein demand gap without increasing the carbon footprint of our food system. They also have the potential for net zero production carbon emissions and resource usage.
Salmonid feeding trial results
Researchers at the DSM Bioscience Centre in Delft, the Netherlands, have shown excellent performance when compared with feeds containing fish meal and soy protein concentrate.
Rainbow trout were grown for 12 weeks on different inclusions of SCP ranging from 0%, 5%, 10% to 20% on extruded feeds, with SCP replacing a combination of fish meal and soy protein concentrate. The data indicates SCP inclusion has no negative impact on fish performance measured by final body weight.
Net zero SCPs are part of a $4 billion animal feed alternative protein market that is expected to double in size within a decade. They represent an opportunity to provide nutrients that are essential to our food systems while making them considerably more sustainable.