Nutreco Feed Tech Challenge Finalists announced

18 April 2018

Amersfoort, the Netherlands | April 18 – The final 10 solutions to the Nutreco Feed Tech Challenge 2018 have been unveiled, with entries ranging from insect-based feed, via water hyacinth as raw material to solar hatcheries. The Challenge, in its second year, is designed to kick-start breakthrough innovation in animal nutrition.

A total of 52 solutions were put forward from around the world, the majority coming from start-ups. The final 10 were selected by a team of Nutreco experts as being the most promising solutions against antimicrobial resistance, feed-to-farm efficiency and young animal nutrition.

The finalists have been invited to pitch to an international jury at an event in the Netherlands on May 28 and 29, with the top three going on to present at F&A Next the following day. The winner will receive a validation trial in one of Nutreco's research farms.

Resolving today's farming challenges
"We are very impressed by the number and quality of this year's submissions and by the extensive participation in the Nutreco Feed Tech Challenge platform," says Viggo Halseth, Chief Innovation Officer at Nutreco. "We're excited to help unlock the full potential of open innovation and collaboration in animal nutrition. This is a very promising tool to help faster resolve today's farming challenges."

The Nutreco Feed Tech Challenge is set up to ensure that every contestant gets valuable support. In the first round, all 52 solutions were given feedback from our industry experts and scientists, with a total of 540 examples of feedback and commentary, and 700 active visitors on the open innovation platform.

The 10 finalists
The 10 finalists and their proposed solutions are:

Bacteriophage chicken feed additive as alternative to antibiotics

(Cytophage Technologies)
Non-antibiotic chicken feed additive that prevents and treats Campylobacter, Salmonella and E. coli bacterial infections in chickens.  Bacteriophage are viruses that solely and specifically target bacterial cells. Our synthetic bacteriophage cocktail is tailor-made to address these common infections in poultry farms. Our solution aims to reverse the trend of further increasing the use of antibiotics in livestock farming and subsequent global increase in antimicrobial resistance to these antibiotics

Biome Modulators

(Folium Science)
A novel feed/food additive category that removes unwanted bacteria, whilst supporting the colonies that you wish to maintain, without the use of antibiotics, so reducing the risk of AMR. Biome Modulators can be delivered through the water or encapsulated in feed systems in the rearing house.  They support the natural healthy state of the animal reducing the risk of disease, loss in house and improving productivity   Maintaining a healthy biome reduces the risk of disease the instances of pathogenic spikes during feeding routines.

Blue Lice's Smart System Preventing Sea Lice on Salmon

(Blue Lice)
Blue Lice’s patent-pending system prevents sea lice from affecting salmon aquaculture, saving costs and reducing the need for treatments. The company’s novel solution also aims to improve fish welfare while increasing the quality and production rate of farmed salmon. Blue Lice is working to attract, capture and contain sea lice before it is infecting the fish. This is a preventive and sustainable solution that also will be a benefit to wild salmon.
   A robot that identifies possible animal welfare and farm productivity challenges. In particular, the ChickenBoy analyses chicken dropping using artificial intelligence and deep learning. Currently, droppings are classified into "good", "bad" and "really bad" (those with indices of illnesses). The resulting "digestion index" can be used to e.g. optimise the relation between drinking water and feed, but also to measure the impact of feed additives.

From Wood to Food

 High-protein yeast product with proprietary bioprocessing technology that converts wood into highly fermentable hydrolysates which serve as growth medium for single cell protein (SCP). Arbiom has developed its bioconversion process technology precisely with the goal of an optimal recovery of the value inherent within renewable, non-food, readily available biomass feedstock, such as wood. Arbiom uses wood and wood waste that is natural, not genetically modified, sustainable and available in the volume required to match or exceed the supply of substrates from food crops.

Microalgae-based ingredients: alternative resources in the feed industry

Inalve is an industrial biotechnology startup specialized in the production of microalgae-based innovative products, an underexploited natural and renewable resource. Among hundreds of thousands of species, we selected one specific microalgae for its composition. This species has high protein concentration and an amino acids composition equivalent to the fishmeal. Due to our production process, this microalgae produces specific polysaccharides valuable as health ingredients (immunomodulator) in the feed industry. Our disruptive and scalable multi-patented biorefinery technology allows us to produce highly nutritional microalgae-biofilm with minimal environmental footprint.

NatuAXTM - Novel combination of β-Glucan and Astaxanthin from unique high-yield strain of Phaffia rhodozyma to disrupt the use of antibiotics in livestock and aquaculture

During our process of developing an innovative and comprehensive bioprocess to produce astaxanthin in Phaffia rhodozyma, we found that our novel high-producer strain could also produce β-glucan at levels much higher than other yeasts. Conscious of this finding, we designed a state-of-the-art formulation to make highly bioavailable both compounds β-glucan and astaxanthin, creating so NatuAX™. Due to its unique health-promoting properties and particularities, we believe that NatuAX™ will boost the immune system in feed-producing animals, disrupting thus the use of antibiotics in the livestock and aquaculture industries. Techno-Economic analyses suggest a commercially viable process

Rex Animal Health - Big Data and Machine Learning for Optimized Yield and Disease Management

(Rex Animal Health)
Rex is working to create the largest datasets of animal genomics data mapped to health, production, feed and medicine interaction in the world. Farm veterinarians record the animal's weight and health, care interventions, diet, medication given, and health outcomes. The platform helps the farm operator optimize yield and monitor the overall health of their stock. The platform captures human annotated data and allows Rex to map it to an animal’s genomic information. This is a unique strategic asset that enables future machine learning driven R&D in the production of animal protein, animal husbandry, and agricultural pharmaceuticals.
Serket - AI and computer vision for Livestock Health Management
Software company that helps farmers to monitor and trace their livestock individually and automatically. It uses a readily-available technology also used in other industries to solve the animal health and food safety concerns such as overuse of antibiotics, expensive hardware solutions & high mortality rate. Serket is named after the Egyptian goddess of nature, animals, medicine and magic.

VakSea - oral vaccines for aquaculture

VakSea has developed a novel oral vaccine delivery platform for aquaculture. Our oral vaccines, based on virus-like particles (VLPs), are affordable, effective, and easy to deliver. Farmers simply feed the vaccine to fish to protect them from disease. Using the same delivery platform, VakSea can rapidly and cheaply create vaccines for many other viral diseases that impact the aquaculture industry.
Our key innovation is in the insect larvae system we have developed to produce vaccines. We use the cabbage looper to produce large quantities of the desired vaccine particles by growing them inside the insects.