eniferBio, a biotech startup created under VTT LaunchPad deep tech startup incubator in 2019, recently raised more than €1 million in funding from Nordic FoodTech VC, which invests in the food technology, and Voima Ventures, which invests in science-based deep tech startups. The startup has developed a a new and sustainable production process for a high-quality fish feed ingredient.
Fish is considered healthier and more ecological source of protein than meat and its consumption is constantly increasing. The decline in fish stocks has led to the increased fish farming which, in turn, is limited to the availability of sustainably produced feed.
“eniferBio combines the elements of a good startup very nicely. Finnish sustainable development innovation has been scientifically further refined and is now being commercialised by an entrepreneurial research team.”Pontus Stråhlman, Voima Ventures
The technology is built on the legacy of the Pekilo process, a globally pioneering solution developed in Finland in the 1970s. The practice was abandoned, as the pulp industry evolved so that no more liquor was produced. Other industrial sectors, however, are still producing similar side streams. eniferBio has modernised this protein production method with new biotechnology and now applies it to the fish feed production.
“We have demonstrated that the single cell protein manufacturing process works with a variety of industrial by-products which are available globally in huge quantities. There is scope to replace all the soy protein concentrate used in fish feeds today, a market currently of $ 2 billion and growing fast. In addition, we have reformed the process so that the produced protein meets the high quality requirements for fish feed. The production method is sustainable and enables protein self-sufficiency. The results show that with this method we can build a profitable business.”Simo Ellilä, founder, eniferBio
The Pekilo process employs a fast-growing micro fungus highly tolerant to many growth inhibitors. The fungus converts various organic substances into nutritious cell mass at high yield and productivity. The process provides a valuable product, while simultaneously decreases costs associated with water treatment. The solution allows modern biorefineries to convert their underutilized dilute side streams into valuable single cell protein.