Creating A New High-Protein Aquafeed

KnipBio is a “Blue-Tech” firm harnessing the power of biotech to enable the expansion of sustainable aquaculture, arguably the most important source of protein to sustain our swelling global population over the next century.

This week we announced an important new development- a novel single cell protein (SCP) feed we call KBM324. What makes KBM324 so exciting is it’s our first ‘high protein product, designed to be a direct replacement for premium fishmeal in aquafeed formulas. It offers the same level of protein (up to 70%) and a similar amino acid profile as premium fishmeal, with none of the anti-nutritional factors of plant-based proteins. And, since it can be made from methanol, ethanol, and even ethanol by-products, it is sustainable, highly traceable, and cost competitive.

The reaction so far to KBM324 from the aquaculture industry has been remarkable and speaks to the demand for new feed ingredients. Equally remarkable is how KBM324 came to be developed. Since our founding, our research team has focused their efforts on developing aquafeeds with immuno-nutritional factors targeted at specific species: for example, we recently announced KBM500, an astaxanthin-rich SCP for salmon, shrimp, and trout. When I began getting requests last year from customers for a version of KnipBio Meal that was ‘just like fishmeal’, I asked the team what they could come up with.

Today the team has developed a new strain of our microbe, created a tailored fermentation process to get it to grow rapidly, run preliminary feed trials to prove efficacy and safety, and taken production all the way through pre-commercial scale (20,000 L vessel) fermentation. I am truly impressed by the team’s accomplishments so far but there is more work to be done. Our next steps include additional controlled feed experiments with commercially relevant species and large-scale field trials with customers. At the same time, we will be making sure we can manufacture KBM324 at full commercial scale.

If you are curious why this product is called KBM324 instead of a catchier title like ‘I Can’t Believe It’s not Fishmeal’, that’s because it’s the 324th variant of our bacterium that the team has created. Today we are closing in on our 1000th strain variation and the pace of development is accelerating every month. Positive characteristics from one or more existing strains can be combined into downstream lineages to make them easier to manufacture and add functional molecules.

KBM324 is just one example of what we are doing with the biotechnology toolkit we developed. Our mission is to harness these tools to create products tailored to various species at various stages of their growth cycles. By creating strains of our SCP that target a range of nutritional factors, we are able to blend different traits together to create custom feed solutions for our customers.

I am confident that the next generation of high protein KBM the team creates will have up to 75% protein while offering other additional functional benefits. Maybe we should call it ‘Better than Fishmeal’? Probably not, but I can’t wait to tell you all more as these advances come on line.

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