New validation milestone reached for 2020 winner of Nutreco Feed & Food Tech Challenge, eniferBio

Amersfoort, the Netherlands, November 18, 2021 - This week eniferBio, the Finnish biotech start-up and winner of the 2020 Nutreco Feed & Food Tech Challenge, visited Nutreco’s aquaculture division Skretting in Stavanger to discuss the results of the first stage of validation of their PEKILO® mycoprotein. Initial indications are promising, with the novel protein showing digestibility results comparable to fish meal.

Joost Matthijssen, Director of Venturing at Nutreco’s breakthrough investment arm, NuFrontiers, was pleased to discuss the latest developments with the eniferBio team. “I’m proud to see that we are one step closer to bringing a new raw material to the aquaculture industry. For aquaculture to be able to grow, we absolutely need new and sustainable protein raw materials that can be produced in large volumes. We are excited to work with eniferBio on this exciting product and to see the value a scientific validation trial can generate for a startup in this phase of its development.”

The utilisation of novel ingredients is an ambitious inclusion in the Nutreco Sustainability RoadMap 2025. PEKILO mycoprotein offers exciting potential as a sustainable, locally produced alternative for soy protein concentrate. The product directly addresses raw material sustainability, a key challenge for the aquaculture industry.

Gunvor Baardsen, Manager Quality & Ingredients at Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre, says, “One of the first steps when evaluating new raw materials is to run a digestibility trial in fish. In this case, we tested PEKILO in Atlantic salmon and the protein digestibility coefficient was comparable to what we see in fish meal. More steps are to be taken before we can start using it at scale, but it is encouraging to see positive results from a new protein raw material coming our way.”

The Skretting team have worked closely with eniferBio to ensure the product matches the high standards for ingredients in Skretting feed.

Joosu Kuivanen, COO, and Heikki Keskitalo, CCO, Co-Founders of eniferBio are very happy with the collaboration to date. “Since our participation in the Nutreco Feed & Food Tech Challenge, the interaction with the team at Skretting has been just excellent. While we are experts in the development and production of our PEKILO mycoprotein, we definitely need a helping hand to bring our innovation to the aquaculture market, and there’s no better expertise for that than at Skretting. We are pleased to have this opportunity to work together and thrilled to see that early testing results show promise. We look forward to continuing the collaboration with Skretting as we advance toward realising our dream of local, sustainable protein for aquaculture.”

In 2020, eniferBio was crowned the winner of the Nutreco Feed & Food Tech Challenge. The biennial competition acknowledges the best breakthrough innovations within livestock farming, aquaculture and alternative food proteins. The first prize included a scientific validation trial, and Skretting is excited to work with eniferBio towards the ultimate aim of commercialisation. As part of Nutreco’s ambitious Sustainability RoadMap launched in 2021, Skretting has committed to an inclusion of 5-10% ingredients from alternative novel sources by 2025. Stay tuned for more updates on the next edition of the Nutreco Feed & Food Tech Challenge!


Photo (left to right): Heikki Keskitalo (eniferBio), Ana Ward (Nutreco), Gunvor Baardsen (Skretting) , Mette Lütcherath (Skretting), Joost Matthijssen (Nutreco), Erik Tveteraas (Nutreco), Joosu Kuivanen (eniferBio)