Edible wood? By tapping into the ‘natural genetic potential of microorganisms’, tree waste can be transformed into food-grade protein

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Credit: Be Sustainable
Credit: Be Sustainable

The protein sector is squeezed between the drive to reach net zero emissions by 2050 – required if global warming is to be contained at 1.5 above pre-industrial levels – and the need to drastically scale up production over the same period.

Food tech innovator Arbiom believes it can be part of the solution.

While ‘robust’ supply chains in the forestry sector allow a year-round source of consistent high quality wood, when this reaches the timber mill production processes result in a by-product, wood residue, that is ‘in many cases’ simply burned for its energy value. 

To Arbiom this offers a ‘unique position in the alternative protein space’. The company is able to upcycle this side-stream via a process of fermentation that sees yeast converted into a ‘traceable protein ingredient’ [called SylPro]. 

The tech taps the ‘natural genetic potential of these microorganisms’ and the company steers clear of using either GMOs or processing aids. 

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“It’s a very straightforward process where the protein content and quality a natural process from the yeast itself,” [said Abriom’s Ricardo Ekmay.] 

The fermentation process is highly efficient. Compared to other conventional plant and animal proteins, SylPro has ‘the lowest GHG emissions per kilogram’, the company claimed.

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Related article:  Milk without cows: Thanks to fermentation, future dairy products might originate in a lab
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