A novel process to extract digestible proteins from salmon waste is set to be piloted in Scotland, before being scaled up for worldwide supply.
The breakthrough in extraction technology will see salmon by-product such as heads and tails used to produce a food grade protein concentrate, which has been trademarked Cellper.
The compound has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of malnutrition in people post-surgery who cannot otherwise digest protein, according to the companies behind the project.
These are food biotech company, Cells United, which developed Cellper and engineering specialist the GMP Group, which has created a multi container-based extraction system for processing.
GMP Group CEO Frank Donegan told Foodnavigator.com that the processing containers for the pilot were to be built as pre-fabricated units in England and would be shipped up to Scotland for use by mid-2015.
He said that during the pilot tweaks would be made to the processing technology, before a permanent plant was built, capable of processing an anticipated 4,500 tonnes plus of salmon waste a year.
Any residual waste from the process will be used for biofuel to power the mobile plant which will operate to top level food quality standards. The plan is to use the slurry as a fertiliser in the longer term, so that the processing creates no waste, Donegan said.
The companies have already been approached by NGOs (non-Government organisations) planning to use the product to fight against global malnutrition, he added.
After a complex refinement process, waste can be used as a dietary supplement in granular form, which can be easily transported to remote parts of the world or as a liquid nutritional supplement for many types of hospital patient.
The plans have important implications for Scotland’s salmon farming industry, said Andy Bing, director of salmon supplier Loch Duart.
“The Cellper process, derived from technology developed for long-distance space travel, adds significant value to those parts of the salmon usually discarded or used for fertiliser and pet food. We are delighted to work with the GMP Group and Cells United to be part of this important breakthrough.”
Salmon waste has been identified as the ideal protein source for this new product, due to its quality, freshness and reliability of supply.
CellsUnited MD Andy Smith said: “We see an important future working with the aquaculture industry worldwide. We plan to spend the next 18 months working closely with the GMP Group and Loch Duart before establishing volume production which will need a minimum of 4,500 tonnes of salmon waste a year. Our relationship with The GMP Group and Loch Duart will generate a new channel for employment and continue as part of our permanent R&D base in Dingwall, Scotland.”