In response to increasing global aquaculture production, depleting fish stocks, research, and development surrounding the SCPs or single-cell protein is crafting suitable headways. Such a process takes place as an alternative ingredient for replacing the entire fish meal in aqua and several other livestock feeds. Such an interest is also making way for single-cell proteins to enter the food industry and applications. Even though these proteins are becoming essential to food and feed producers, you need to differentiate the developers and their market approaches and technician capabilities. (Image Source)
Through one of the recent reports laid down by Lux on synbio’s strategic impact, they identified four vital elements to navigate through differentiation amid synthetic biology applications. These essential elements are microorganisms, feedstock, product, production infrastructure, and market. With this framework’s help, such an insight tends to examine plenty of SCP developers that target food and feed industries. Moreover, they leverage that kind of information to outline concerns that clients need to consider for every element. As a result, it is imperative to understand how protein production works collectively. Here’s a rundown of some strategies you should not miss out on.
Feedstock Availability Will be Paramount
The low-cost feedstocks produced under SCPs are generally derivative products of an industrial process. Let’s take, for instance, one of the firms, KnipBio, claims that they created a system to utilize condensed distillers’ solubles. This is an ethanol fermentation’ byproduct that happens to achieve cost-competitiveness along with the fish meal. Several other competitors are operating raw emissions through oil refineries or cement manufacturing facilities.
All the systems that use CO2 as their feedstock require hydrogen gas as microbial energy sources. Furthermore, hydrogen sources comprise water electrolysis that happens to be an expensive component because of today’s significant electricity prices. Solar Foods also plan to source hydrogen that gets generated from solar energy’s water electrolysis. However, the high energy consumption of a system might trace considerable difficulties at a broader scale.
Advanced Strain Development Results in Commercial Optimization
Teams of SCP developers are optimizing and selecting microbial strains paved on protein content and growth rate. In conclusion, such strains are less relevant than any developer’s challenges or optimizing strain traits. Such a system is quite evident in cases where human food applications are targeted. These targeted applications do not settle on an accepted platform of microbial production. This is because of the familiarity levels of traditional fermentation utilizing consumer misconception or yeast.
SCP feed and food products aren’t produced from transgenic organisms. However, all the developers are still exploring further opportunities for improving key traits such as nutrient conversions through such methods.
The infrastructure of Single-Cell Protein production differentiates the competition
Unibio and Calysta are competition leaders in broad production that have over 10,000 MT/yr. They have also secured specific partnerships that will give way to a significant amount of growth. Both companies’ production platforms are conveniently scalable that is conducted through the technology of a loop reactor, which tends to deliver gaseous feedstocks’ high utilization.
Since companies utilize CO2 as their feedstock, they are also in the middle of identifying strategic partners. Such technologies remain to be proven at a more significant and commercial stage. All their investment costs and reliance on hydrogen gas might warrant an economic, technical, and assessment. Furthermore, big competitors have identified capital and gas input access in the process.
Developers like Arbiom and White Dog Labs utilize cellulose-derived feedstock and are moving to the production of commercial-scale. Both these companies have also conducted a considerable amount of testing on protein ingredients that have shown promising sustainability and nutrition results. On the other hand, if you target the human food market, you will face a more challenging path commercially. As a result, single-cell protein continues to produce interest for applications as companies keep validating their products within the respective industries.
Moreover, companies like Sustainable Bioproducts, Solar Foods, and Kiverdi’s Air Protein focus on producing protein ingredients for human food applications. But, they face specific challenges in the market when it comes to commercialization. Such developers tend to remain early-stage and do not intend to achieve regulatory approval or scaled production. A firm like Solar Foods might have a nominal lead on other competitors through its food industry collaborations. This is to determine the successful SCP performance amid various food applications.
Since single-cell proteins that fall under food applications face considerable challenges in public perception and regulations than feed, you can expect leading developers to corroborate products and fight existing barriers. They do it to battle commercialization at various rates. However, those who successfully target such an industry will gain instant access to waste stream partners and then help in scaling up. Likewise, firms with fermentation capacity, applicable waste streams, or feedstock supplies should plan to penetrate SCP.