iCell Sustainable Nutrition Co., Hong Kong, and Shandong Zhonggu Starch Sugar Co. of China (SZSS) on July 18 jointly announced the completion of their full-scale production facility that will convert nutrients previously lost in the process water into a single-cell protein (SCP) for use in animal feeds. Both companies expect the commercial shipments of the SCP to begin in August.

The facility in Shandong is the second full-scalesingle-cell protein production facility for iCell in China, which increases their production capacity to several thousand tons/year.

iCell Sustainable Nutrition is a Hong Kong-based technology company that holds more than 50 patents throughout the world for the production and use of SCPs in animal and plant nutrition.

“By recovering valuable nutrients from the process water with patented technology, iCell has created a more integrated and holistic water management strategy that converts nutrients which were previously discarded, into high-quality, single-cell proteins for animal feed,” said Jianhua Song, Vice President, Operations with iCell. “We anticipate that this facility will generate economic value that exceeds $3.5MM/year (USD).”

As a large-scale processor of corn starch in China, SZSS produces 3,000,000 tons of products annually. Every day, the production facility generates more than 10,000 tons/day of nutrient-laden water that requires treatment and disposal, with costs exceeding $300,000 (USD) annually.

By converting the previously discarded nutrients found in the effluent water into single-cell proteins for use with animal feed, iCell is helping create sustainable environmental and economic benefits for SZSS.

“iCell is also helping SZSS meet stringent environmental water discharge requirements for liquid waste streams that include nitrogen and phosphorous,” said Jianhua Song.

Producers of animal feedstock are becoming more interested in single-cell protein and beneficial bacteria because it possesses a low raw-material cost, yet has a high nutritional value, making it an ideal product to compensate for a shortage of high-quality protein in feedstock.

“The SCP from iCell contains high levels of proteins with excellent amino acid profiles and nucleotide content, making it a more cost-effective supplement for animal feed than fish meal. We’ve also found that the SCP from iCell improves an animal’s ability to absorb the proteins and improves feed conversion ratios (FCR) because iCell’s SCP does not contain antigens typically found in plant proteins like soybean meal, making it excellent
for aquaculture applications,” said Dr. Lijuan Wang, a senior nutritionist with iCell.

To generate single-cell protein products, the nutrient-rich water is run through advanced and patented iCell technologies, such as rapid control fermentation, cell-wall breaking enzymolysis, instantaneous air drying, sterilizing and other processes.

iCell has been commercially producing SCP’s for several years and anticipates significant growth in the next 3-5 years with additional projects already in various stages of implementation in multiple countries around the world.