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Growing yeast from trees – first successful scale-up of microbial feed ingredients from sustainable resources

Growing yeast from trees – first successful scale-up of microbial feed ingredients from sustainable resources

Yeast made from Norwegian spruce trees is a high-quality feed ingredient that can replace imported protein. A fruitful collaboration between industry and research has for the first time successfully achieved large-scale production of yeast from local, sustainable resources.

An important milestone has been reached by the partners in the center for research-based innovation, Foods of Norway: a successful industrial scale-up of 1,600 kg of yeast produced from sugars from Norwegian spruce trees. Production was a joint effort by Lallemand Animal Nutrition, Borregaard, and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), all partners in Foods of Norway at NMBU.

Salutaguse plant

Sugar from Norwegian spruce trees was produced by biorefinery company Borregaard, and this was used to grow the yeast at the Lallemand production site in Estonia. The processes could be scaled up thanks to the extensive work done by scientists at NMBU and Lallemand, coordinated by Foods of Norway. The yeast will be used in large-scale feeding trials with pigs and Atlantic salmon, in collaboration with leading feed companies in Foods of Norway.


From lab to industrial production

“We are entering an exciting phase where we will be evaluating yeast in diets for salmon in seawater and for piglets under farm conditions”, says Professor Margareth Øverland, the head ofhydrolyzed yeast Foods of Norway.

“Our work in Foods of Norway follows the entire value chain from the tree biomass to the final meat and fish products. The larger-scale trials will provide important information on how these novel feeds will affect the growth, health, and product quality of the animals as well as the production cost and sustainability of using these ingredients”, she says.

Professor Svein Jarle Horn, who heads the Foods of Norway team responsible for yeast fermentation research at NMBU, says: “It is very exciting and unique that laboratory results can be directly applied and scaled up by the industry. The research and development performed in Foods of Norway have clearly shown how biotechnology can be used to develop novel sustainable feed ingredients”.


Demonstrates potential

“We are proud of this important milestone on our journey towards the development of alternative feed ingredients using local Norwegian resources. There is still a lot to be done before commercial development can be realized, but this achievement reinforces the technical feasibility of the concept developed through Foods of Norway towards a more sustainable feed production,” says Mathieu Castex, Director of Research and Development at Lallemand Animal Nutrition.

Gudbrand Rødsrud, Technology Director at Borregaard, agrees: “This large-scale production experiment demonstrates the opportunities that exist for developing sustainable feed products from wood and it will enable documentation of business potentials through large scale feeding trials.”

Dr. Ildar Nisamedtinov is vice president of research and development at Lallemand. He says: “Our partners at NMBU have previously carried out thorough studies when it comes to using Borregaard’s spruce syrup in the cultivation of different yeast species. That knowledge was a good starting point for us to further design and optimize the process that could be industrially utilized. In my opinion, this is an excellent example of how collaboration between academia and industry can lead to new products.”


More information:

  • The industrial scale-up was a collaboration between the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Lallemand Animal Nutrition, and Borregaard, all partners in Foods of Norway. The sugar production was financed by the Forest Initiative Fund (Skogtiltaksfondet), with funds applied for by Viken Skog.
  • Yeast as a feed ingredient: Yeast is a microbial protein source with a protein content of 50-60 percent. One of the main areas of Foods of Norway’s expertise is to develop yeast as a local feed ingredient produced from renewable natural resources, such as by-products from the forestry and food industries.
  • Foods of Norway is a Centre for Research-based Innovation (CRI) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, funded by The Research Council of Norway and 20 industry partners. The center aims to contribute to the growth and increased value creation in the Norwegian aquaculture and agriculture industries by developing sustainable feed ingredients from natural bioresources not suitable for direct human consumption.
  • Borregaard is a biorefinery company that produces advanced and environmentally friendly biochemicals that can replace oil-based products in a variety of applications in sectors such as agriculture and aquaculture, construction, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, foodstuffs, batteries, and biofuels by using natural, renewable raw materials.

Published Sep 8, 2021 | Updated May 29, 2023

Research and DevelopmentSustainabilityYeast