Going Circular in research project exploring new type of fermentation

5 March 2024
Ad van Wesel
Ad van Wesel

Step by step, we are working towards a circular food supply. We do this by developing and applying various technologies and raw materials, and by participating in initiatives, research and partnerships. Recently, we joined a new research project. We’re using a new type of fermentation as a technology to upgrade raw materials that are not suitable for human consumption and use them as animal feed. This project fits well in our ambition to promote circularity, in which using co-products as feed is a key pillar.

In this project academic and industrial stakeholders work together under the leadership of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Schothorst Feed Research (SFR). Main objective is to upgrade low-value / low-nutritional raw materials into highly digestible ingredients. For this purpose, purely circular raw materials are being used; moreover, these are raw materials that are not suitable for human consumption, but can be used as animal feed. This is different from the fermentation technique we already apply at ForFarmers, which focuses on improving intestinal health through lactic acid fermentation. In this new project, we’re focusing on pig and poultry feed.

New ways of fermentation

Ad van Wesel is closely involved in the project called FEFO: “We are investigating so-called solid state fermentation. In this case it means that products are moistened to get fermentation. The products themselves, all co-products, do not liquefy. By applying fermentation raw materials become better digestible. For example corn stover and wood shavings that are normally not digestible. However, bacteria, yeasts or certain types of fungi, for example, make them digestible. Microbial protein is also formed; this could help reduce soy in (supplementary) feed, for example. The application of fermentation is still in an early stage, so we find it very valuable to participate in this project to hopefully unlock the potential of low-value / low-nutritional raw materials through this technique.”

No competition between food and feed

Piglet with liquid feed

In Going Circular and working on a circular food chain, it’s up to the chain partners to take steps. Avoiding competition between food and feed is an important part of this. That is why we are committed to processing raw materials that are not suitable for humans and in some cases also not for (certain groups of) animals, and making them suitable as animal feed.