‘Circular-Economy’ with Filamentous Fungi
Authors: Rebecca Gmoser & Shirley Yuen
In order to create ‘circular-economy’ in a sustainable model, what was once considered as waste has to become a resource. Thus, the goal is to minimize waste and excessive resource utilization, by turning goods at the end of their lifespan along with waste generated during manufacturing, into resources for the manufacturing of other products. This means that new recycling strategies and processes are needed to create a sustainable growth and circular-economy. For those who create these processes, there are great potential for long-term sustainable business opportunities. With respect to the agriculture and food systems, a reduction of the amount of waste generated, utilization of by-products and agricultural/food waste and nutrient recycling are involved.
At Mycorena AB, we use special filamentous fungi-based processes to cope with these questions. The fungi kingdom decompose organic matter and convert it back to carbon dioxide, which can find its way back into the atmosphere at the same time, a fungal biomass is produced. The Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) certificated fungi used in our processes at Mycorena are utilized to refine waste streams from the agriculture and food sector to new products such as feed components and biosorption material. GRAS is a very favorable property when considering its potential industrial use of the fungi based products.
One example of how these processes can contribute to a circular economy is given here: A high amount of nitrogen lost in sugarcane spent wash (waste liquid from sugar processing industries) can be recovered through the cultivation of fungi in the form of edible fungal biomass for feed applications.
The organic load of the waste streams is also highly reduced which facilitate the wastewater treatment since it leads to decreased capital costs and energy consumption, and the water can possibly be circulated back to the industry. This example demonstrates the potential of our fungi to be used in wastewater valorization. Fungal biomass is an excellent alternative to conventional feeds such as soybean and fishmeal. These two sources have faced economic and environmental problems for the last few decades. Fishmeal has increased in price of almost 150% in six year and has led to over-fishing, whereas soybeans is considered as a primary agent of destruction of ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest. Therefore, recovery of nutrients of unavoidable food/agricultural waste by cultivating fungi for feed which can potentially replace fishmeal and soybean meal, may contribute to a more circular economy approach.
Nonetheless, what makes fungal biomass an ideal feed protein substitute to conventional feed protein are not only limited to its green processing but also its nutritional value. Comparing to soybean meal, the alternative feed from fungal biomass has comparatively high protein content (up to 60%), while conventional soybean meal has around 43–45%.
Furthermore, it contains other important nutrients that are essential for the animals, such as essential fatty acids as well as several essential amino acids like valine, leucine, threonine, isoleucine and arginine. These nutrients are all features on Mycorena’s flagship product — ASCOFEED. It is a high protein feed ingredients made from a patented fungi production process, which is ready for the fish-feed market. By maximising the value of fungi, it transforms waste into a value added feed product without harming the nature.
Mycorena’s flagship product: AscoFeed
Mycorena AB will contribute with its innovative approach to the industrial partners by opening up new opportunities to produce additional products from their waste streams and residues. The circular-economy path will potentially contribute to collaboration and/or expansion into markets such as feed and water cleaning; we believe this may enhance the industrial competitiveness and sustainable growth and also address major societal challenges.
Contact us to learn more about our process and products:
Stena Center 1 A
412 92 Gothenburg
Phone: +46 723340281