AVECOM trials biobased animal feed prototypes

Avecom is an innovative company that develops and produces bioproducts and applications for and from bacteria, including high quality feed and foodstuff. In this interview, Kim Windey and Mariane Van Wambeke from Avecom explain their role in the INGREEN project and how Avecom is contributing to sustainability.

What products and processes has Avecom contributed to developing in INGREEN?
Avecom is involved in the production, formulation and testing of biobased animal feed prototypes containing microbial protein biomass and PHA enriched biomass. We are testing  PHA enriched biomass provided by our project partner Innoven produced by fermentation of paper mill process water. Based on the good results of in-vitro trials performed by MTU at lab scale that showed prebiotic activity of different prototypes with microbial biomasses, Avecom further prepared new feed prototypes and organized in-vivo trials for chicken broilers and shrimps.

Within the framework of the INGREEN project, Avecom designed feed prototypes that contain both protein-rich biomass and PHA-enriched biomass. For the animal trials, two types of PHA-enriched biomass feed formulations were tested which allowed the performance of the product produced by the INGREEN project to be compared to a benchmark product.

What is the reason your company participated in this BBI project? What is the added value for your company?
Avecom wants to extend the range of its bioproducts portfolio by including the production of innovative nutritious feed to existing feed formulations.  Based on the INGREEN results, we will be able to outsource the development of new feed products to feed companies.  The results can also be used to carry out further technical developments in order to optimize existing feed formulations. In this way, we aim at economic benefits by being less dependent on imports. 

Your company has shown its commitment to sustainability by participating in the INGREEN project. What other activities has AVECOM conducted to improve your company’s sustainability?
Another Avecom innovation is the production of Single Cell Protein derived from green energy, called Power to Protein. This is a disruptive technology for producing valuable proteins for the eco-oriented human food industry. We make use of single cell micro-organisms or bacteria that naturally consume hydrogen gas and oxygen gas, both derived from green electricity by means of electrolysis, and a third gas – the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide – to produce biomass rich in protein and vitamin B12. The subsequent drying of the biomass produces a powder that can be further applied as a food ingredient. The Power to Protein process uses additional resources like nitrogen without any loss to the environment and is a net consumer, not an emitter, of carbon dioxide.

Power to Protein is the most sustainable in terms of energy-, material- and land use. Our fermentation is free of pesticides, hormones or antibiotics. But we also obtain a bigger economic benefit because of the independence of import. Our product is 100% GMO-free, contains more than 70% of protein, and also vitamin B12. The process line is modular and can easily be integrated into local food supply systems.

We also participate in Cafipla (H2020-BBI-JTI-2019) and Rustica (H2020-RUR-2020-1), two European projects where we aim to close the nutrient cycles. 

Avecom is an innovative SME, specialized in steering and optimization of microbial processes.  Avecom is a recognized innovator in sustainable single cell protein technologies and microbial fermentation processes. 

Mariane Van Wambeke (Project Manager) has been working at Avecom since 2000.  She is a Master in Industrial Engineering (Agriculture) and an expert in Wastewater treatment, Anaerobic digestion and Fermentation processes.  

Photo: Mariane van Wambeke

Kim Windey (Operations Director) has been working at Avecom since 2004, first as a Project engineer and later on as a Product Manager.  She is a Master of Science in Bioscience Engineering (Environmental Technology).  

Photo: Kim Windey