USA- NovoNutrients, a Silicon Valley-based producer of alternative protein solutions, recently announced a planned scaling up of carotenoid production using its general carbon capture technology.
NovoNutrients produces microbial protein for application in the feed industry, especially aquafeeds production.
The company now intends to scale up the production of carotenoids to metric tons levels using the general carbon capture process.
According to David Tze, the CEO of NovoNutrients, the company is establishing letters of intent and other agreements to start trials for carotenoid production for use in pet food and aquafeed.
Tze adds that aquaculture is especially in need of sustainable high-performance protein alternatives.
Carotenoids are natural pigments found primarily in plants and marine organisms, creating bright colors, like the orange in carrots or the red in tomatoes.
They have antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals that can damage cells. Moreover, specific carotenoids offer palatability and contribute to good vision and overall health.
NovoNutrients utilizes carbon dioxide and renewable energy through gas fermentation for its alternative protein production, upcycling approximately two tons of carbon dioxide for every ton of protein-rich ingredient.
In so doing, this biomanufacturing platform saves costs, contributes to combating climate change, and yields protein ingredients that are about 73% protein and with a better amino acid profile than beef, for utilization in the feed and food industry.
NovoNutrients partners with companies that emit carbon (iv) oxide and hydrogen, and need decarbonizing, using these emissions in alternative protein production.
“We have reached an agreement with a large emitter. We are engaged in discussions with several others to secure project financing,” the CEO said.
The cost-saving technology will enable the sale of natural carotenoids at synthetic price levels, positioning NovoNutrients to be a significant player in the global carotenoids market, which the Expert Market Research projects to be worth USD 2.3 billion by 2027.
Natural carotenoids such as Astaxanthin are the most potent and sell at over US$7000 per kilogram pure. Moreover, it is considered more biologically active and bioavailable than its synthetic petrochemical counterpart, which typically sells for around US$2000 per kilogram.
Using its carbon capture process, NovoNutrients intends to create carotenoids that will sell at near synthetic carotenoid levels, which will be a major gain for feed processers.
“Before we get to the opportunities for people, our nutritional proteins enhanced with carotenoids can be blended into feeds for dogs, cats, egg-laying hens, salmon, shrimp, koi, and other ornamental and aquaculture fish,” said Jo Ritter, CTO of NovoNutrients.
The company also believes that fine-tuning the production of carotenoids close in structure to natural carotenoids will alleviate overreliance on crustaceans in the Antarctic ecosystem for carotenoid production, which leads to unsustainable overfishing.