Nutreco Feed (&Food) Tech Challenge winner eniferBio teams up with Tereos to supply Pekilo® protein for salmon feeding trials

Nutreco today proudly announces the start of validation trials for Nutreco Feed (&Food) Tech Challenge (NFTC) 2020 winner eniferBio. The award winning Finnish biotech start-up eniferBio has successfully completed its process piloting trials and is now taking the next step towards validating Pekilo® protein through salmon feeding trials.

Nutreco’s aquaculture division Skretting will validate the new novel ingredient through salmon feeding trials held in R&D facilities at the Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre (ARC) in Norway. To prepare for the trial, eniferBio is teaming up with Tereos to supply Pekilo® mycoprotein for the validation testing.

“I am thrilled that the NFTC has helped eniferBio reach this significant milestone as it begins validation trials for Pekilo® mycoprotein. We are excited to see the results as novel ingredients are a high priority at Nutreco and very much aligned with our sustainability ambitions laid out in our sustainability strategy, RoadMap 2025.”
Joost Matthijssen, Nutreco’s Director of Venturing and NFTC head-juror

Since winning the NFTC in September 2020, eniferBio has been working very closely with the Skretting novel ingredients team to support and speed up the process to develop a commercially relevant novel ingredient for the first validation trial at Skretting ARC.

Skretting Category Manager Novel Ingredients Jenna Bowyer says, “Our desktop assessment identified that this ingredient has a high potential to be an alternative protein source to marine and soy proteins in our aquafeeds. This is another example of Skretting’s commitment to identifying, developing and commercialising novel ingredients that can have a positive contribution to the sustainability of the aquaculture industry.” 

To start the validation trials at Skretting ARC, Pekilo® protein needs to be produced at scale, to meet the quantities required for testing. To meet the required quanities eniferBio is teaming up with Tereos, a global leader in the sugar, alcohol and starch markets. Tereos provides the raw material for the trial, in the form of vinasse, a by-product from the production of ethanol from beet molasses. The process of eniferBio allows the efficient conversion of dilute side streams such as vinasse into a valuable protein ingredient for aquaculture feed.  

eniferBio CEO Simo Ellilä, remarks, “This is a very important step for us as company as we re-establish the Pekilo® production process, now as a major source of aquafeed protein. We believe the process is unique in offering a cost-competitive, sustainable alternative to soy protein concentrate. The process is very scalable, and Pekilo® can be produced close to the end users – promising to decrease dependence on imported protein. This pilot trial is an excellent example of bringing together the whole value chain in Europe. It has been an absolute pleasure making this happen with the great teams at Tereos and Skretting.” 


eniferBio team (L-R): Anssi Rantasalo, Joosu Kuivanen, Simo Ellilä, Heikki Keskitalo and Ville Pihlajaniemi.

The trials are expected to run for over the next six months and results are expected at the end of 2021. 

The NFTC is a biennial competition that acknowledges the best breakthrough innovations within livestock farming, aquaculture and alternative food proteins. Start-ups across the globe submit their breakthrough innovations to address critical challenges in the feed and food value chain. The winning start-up receives a validation trial at one of Nutreco’s research centres.

To learn more about the NFTC or Nutreco’s sustainability RoadMap 2025 click here.