Scottish start-up wins Silicon Valley aquaculture research contract

A Scottish salmon simulator start-up has secured its first commercial contract with California-based Calysta, supporting trials for a sustainable alternative protein source that could be rolled out across the global aquaculture industry.

Written by: Peter A Walker / content editor

Using a gut simulator that mimics the digestive tract of Atlantic salmon, SalmoSim will conduct a trial of Calysta’s single-cell feed ingredient FeedKind protein, which is made by fermenting natural gas.

FeedKind has been developed to meet the growing global demand for protein and is designed to be a sustainable substitute for proteins such as fishmeal and soy, which are currently widely used in seafood production.

Results from the simulation, taking place at the University of Glasgow, will provide Calysta with data on digestibility, comparing FeedKind in SalmoSim to existing data.

SalmoSim tests are designed to supplement live salmon feed trials, which can come at huge investment of both cost and time. Testing sites are sporadic and the process can take up to six months to complete, compared to a six-week gut simulation for microbiome simulations and just days for digestibility trials.

Dr Martin Llewellyn, founder of SalmoSim and senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow, said: “Our gut simulation system provides a powerful tool for carrying out basic and applied research into fish digestion and we’re pleased to be supporting Calysta with the development of its alternative protein.

“The aquaculture sector is changing rapidly, with many seeking to find more sustainable ingredients for fish feed that can support future growth as a substitute for wild-caught fish.

“SalmoSim can help feed manufacturers with an important pre-screening phase, allowing them to eliminate unviable options without the time and expense associated with full-scale tests,” he added.

Calysta produces protein from gas at scale, with its Calysseo joint venture with Adisseo aiming to build the world’s first commercial FeedKind production facility in Chongqing, China, with 20,000 tonnes of capacity coming online in 2022.

Allan LeBlanc, vice president of the aquaculture business unit at Calysta, said: “FeedKind has already been validated in a number of fish species, including salmon, trout, and shrimp, but SalmoSim’s capability gives us even more data, which is invaluable as we further demonstrate functional benefits such as maintaining a healthy gut.”


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