In the Bioeconomy in the North 2022 – ForestFeed project, the project partners use industrial forest by-products, such as sulphite liquor, ethanol, residues from lignin extraction and hot water extract from bark or vinasse from 2G wood chips as nutrients for a fungus. The resulting fungal biomass serves as the starting material for the production of fish feed. To do this, the project participants use a patented process called Pekilo. Pekilo is a microbial ingredient based on a specific strain of the filamentous fungus Paecilomyces variotii. Pekilo was developed and used industrially by the Finnish forest industry as early as the 1970s. The fungus breaks down the aforementioned by-products and partially converts them into proteins (so-called single-cell protein), which then become part of fish feed. The feed is used to breed fish of economic importance in countries like Sweden, Norway and Finland, such as Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout.
Through the cooperation within the present project, an interdisciplinary consortium for cross-sectoral research is to be established. The project aims to lay the foundations for further innovations in forest biorefinery as well as future commercialisation in the Nordic region.