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CuanTec's packaging has extended salmon shelf-life by up to 40% in tests. Photo: CuanTec.
CuanTec's packaging has extended salmon shelf-life by up to 40% in tests. Photo: CuanTec.

Oban biotech start-up CuanTec has been shortlisted twice in the Herald Scotland Pioneer Awards.

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CuanTec, which is developing a compostable packaging that can extend the shelf-life of salmon products by up to 40%, is a finalist in both the Research Business and Start-Up categories of the contest run by the media outlet. The winners will be announced on November 13.

CuanTec, which also has a base in Motherwell, uses a gentle fermentation method to extract chitin, a naturally occurring biopolymer, from langoustine shells. This is then converted into chitosan, which the company uses for an antimicrobial, compostable food contact material.

Natural astaxanthin

A by-product of the process is a protein-rich liquor containing a natural source of the salmon colourant astaxanthin. CuanTec is hoping the liquor can be utilised in salmon feed.

The company recently gained a fresh round of funding from Sky Ocean Ventures and Scottish Enterprise that will enable it to process at pilot production scale and finalise its formulations. Retailer Waitrose has also backed the company’s product.

CuanTec hopes to go into production in early 2021.

CuanTec extracts antimicrobial chitin from langoustine shells and uses it in a compostable packaging. Photo: CuanTec.
CuanTec extracts antimicrobial chitin from langoustine shells and uses it in a compostable packaging. Photo: CuanTec.
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