Fish farmers and biotech engineers are joining forces with a dream of fighting malnutrition around the world. The Scottish salmon farming company Loch Duart will be supplying salmon waste products to the food biotech company CellsUnited, with the end goal to create a pharmaceutical-grade protein supplement that could help the malnourished everywhere.
The salmon by-products produced by Loch Duart — specifically, by-products which are not sold in supermarkets such as guts, heads and frames — are currently sold for low-value products like fertilizer and pet food. While these products serve a purpose, human nutrition is a more profitable venture and a more pressing humanitarian concern.
Both business and humanity stand to benefit from Loch Duart and CellsUnited’s new deal.
Through a process originally developed to produce nutritional supplements for long-term space flight, CellsUnited plans to create Cellper, a protein supplement available in powder and liquid forms. Salmon, including the waste, is rich with protein and other nutrients and thus was picked as the ideal source of protein in Cellper.
Farm salmon is also a renewable resource available in large supply with reliability and regularity.
The finished product is intended to treat malnutrition and to provide protein for those who cannot otherwise digest protein. Specifically, it will benefit hospital patients in recovery and malnourished residents of developing nations.
Those suffering from acute malnutrition cannot immediately ingest or process the nutrients their bodies need — not through food, at least. It is intended that the powder and liquid forms of Cellper will remedy this situation.
For the next 18 months, Loch Duart will provide up to 450 tons of salmon by-products to CellsUnited. Pre-fabricated processing equipment for the pilot program will be operational by summer 2015. After this trial period, the two companies will enter into volume production, a process that will demand a minimum of 4,500 tons of salmon by-products.
The end result could be a revolution in fighting malnutrition and in building human medicine.