Unibio is currently engaged in a number of projects. Read more about the different projects below.
The PROVIDE project
Unibio have been selected to form part of the PROVIDE project in cooperation with Innovation Fund Denmark.
The aim of the 5-year research project is to increase the value of residual products and optimize resource utilization. The project has a total investment of DKK 14,780,000 (GBP 1,764,000).
When companies extract certain constituent parts from potatoes, seaweed and single cell protein for use in various food and feed ingredients, large quantities of residual products with a very low value is the result. The residual products are currently often sold as animal feed or end up as waste products but the residues contain valuable proteins which, if they can be extracted cheaply and efficiently, are possible to use to produce different additives such as preservatives, flavours and emulsifiers.
In the PROVIDE project scientists from the Technical University of Denmark and Aalborg University, in cooperation with five companies including Unibio, aim to develop tools using knowledge about protein sequences to scan the residual product for valuable proteins with qualities that make them useful in the production of additives. The scientists also aim to develop tools for the cheap and efficient extraction of the exact protein parts which are to be used in this production.
The consumer benefit is that in the future many additives will consist of natural constituent parts of protein, which will increase the protein content of the finished food item.
Unibio’s U-Loop® technology allows the conversion of methane gas into a high-value bacterial protein product, Uniprotein®, which can replace fishmeal and soybean meal in animal and fish feed. Unibio’s vision to decouple protein production from farming and fishing, thus freeing up a larger share of the world’s agricultural land and fishing areas for the production of feed instead of protein for animal feed, may now be expanded to the world of food and feed ingredients by the future development of new products and utilization of all constituents through the PROVIDE project.
Unibio CEO Henrik Busch-Larsen states,”Taking part in the PROVIDE project is a big opportunity for Unibio. Besides collaborating with some very knowledgeable institutions and companies the focus on creating added value from our core protein product holds great potential for the company as so does the feasibility of an already very promising technology.”
The EFPro² project
Unibio has engaged in a project entitled Environmentally Friendly Protein Production with grant support from Innovation Fund Denmark. This project is made in collaboration with DTU, SDU (University of Southern Denmark), Aarhus University and Vestjyllands Andel.
The project will construct a U-Loop fermentation pilot plant in a DTU-owned building in Lyngby with a 100 litre pilot plant with focus on optimizing Unibio’s fermentation technology. This unit will provide the needed conditions for testing and evaluating products based on methanotrophic bacteria.
Simultaneously, the EFPro² project will concentrate on developing and optimizing UniProtein+, a specialized protein for pigs, to develop a methodology to produce different amino acid profiles fitting the physiological demand for protein and amino acids of pigs (including piglets), thus supporting the request for enhancing the environmental performance of feed production.
It is the composition of the protein in terms of essential amino acids (rather than the content in crude protein) that determines its quality and feeding value. Pigs must ingest different quantities of all essential amino acids in the protein before they can use it for maximum feed efficiency and rate of gain.
For example, lysine, the most important limiting essential amino acid in pig feed, is present at relatively low levels in most grains, and as a result protein supplements have to be mixed with grains to provide the minimum lysine needed by the animal. Though lysine is already available commercially as a supplement, other amino acids like leucine, isoleucine and histidine are only available from crop and meal ingredients. This is why the tailoring of the UniProtein+ amino acid profile represents a keystone of this project.
The success criterion for the EFPro² project is a proven ability to commercially produce a feedstuff that enables the production of a higher quality pig feed with lower costs than those observed today, through the substitution of a maximal amount of crop and meal ingredients in compound pig feed.
SDU will take a key research role in the project with the aim of providing state-of-the-art Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) quantifying the environmental consequences of various protein supply strategies for today and the future. Through this, SDU will quantify to which extent it is possible, through the optimized UniProtein+ as well as through other protein supply strategies, to decouple protein supply from land use.
The LCAs to be performed will include:
- The development of a methodology, in collaboration with VA, to quantify changes in overall feed formulation as a result of a changed protein supply, considering the detailed chemical composition of each ingredient. This has so far been disregarded in published LCA studies.
- A systematic quantification and assessment of land use changes impacts
- The implications of a change in price in various protein and carbohydrate ingredients
- The implications of various methane feedstock to produce Uniprotein+
- The implications of various future framework conditions for the energy system and land demand
- Strategies to prioritize the use of land