ÄIO and Fibenol collaborate to pilot biomanufacturing of high-value microbial oils
Fibenol, a company that converts residues into lignin and two types of sugars, has formed a strategic partnership with emerging biotechnology startup, ÄIO, to create a reliable alternative to traditionally produced fats and vegetable oils. Using ÄIO's technology, Fibenol's wood sugars are converted into oils and fatty acids, well suited as functional food, feed, and cosmetics ingredients.
Traditionally, C6 sugars, like glucose, have been consumed by most microbes, while hemicellulose-derived C5 sugars, such as xylose, pose challenges to efficient utilization. With the integration of ÄIO's advanced technology, Fibenol can now efficiently convert its C5 sugars into high-value nutrient-rich foods. Moreover, these converted sugars offer promising alternative constituents for the oleochemical industry.
"As the food sector significantly contributes to global emissions, our low CO2 footprint separation technology present a tremendous opportunity," suggested Karl Peebo, the project manager at Fibenol. "We anticipate a growing range of applications for cellulosic sugars in the food industry in the future."
After successful laboratory-scale production and initial experimental trials, ÄIO recognized the need to seek partners for process upscaling. Despite the recent expansion of the biotechnology industry in Estonia, inadequate infrastructure has forced several biotechnology firms to relocate their production facilities elsewhere.
Petri-Jaan Lahtvee, Co-founder of ÄIO, emphasized the significance of this pilot-scale collaboration with Fibenol. "This is an important milestone for ÄIO, showing that our biotech process is robust and can thrive under industry-like conditions. We are now poised to advance the accessibility of alternative fats and oils for the food and cosmetics industries."
With the global demand for plant-based foods soaring, these novel ingredients possess immense potential to replace animal fats and palm oil while ensuring local food security. ÄIO researchers have estimated that adopting biotech processes to obtain new and alternative fats and oils could mitigate 100 million tons of CO2 emissions, assuming ÄIO's technology replaces approximately 30% of current palm oil usage.
Fibenol and ÄIO remain steadfast in their commitment to upholding the highest quality requirements and standards throughout production. Their primary focus is on delivering safe, nutritious ingredients fit for human consumption, with safety as the utmost priority.
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