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Single-cell protein ‘as good or better’ than alternatives

Reference image of a rainbow trout. KnipBio carried out trials with nearly 5,000 fish.
Reference image of a rainbow trout. KnipBio carried out trials with nearly 5,000 fish.

KnipBio, the US company producing aquafeed ingredients from single-cell protein, has announced the successful completion of an extended series of trials studying the efficacy of its KnipBio Meal (KBM) in the diet of fingerling rainbow trout.

The trials compared diets containing varying inclusion rates of KBM against multiple standard trout diets. The results confirmed that juvenile trout fed a diet where KBM replaced a portion of other proteins performed equally well or better than trout fed standard diets in terms of weight gain and fish size (length).

The experimental populations also generally experienced equal or higher specific growth rates (SGR) and better feed conversion ratios (FCR) than populations fed a control diet based on poultry meal and soy protein concentrate (SPC).

KnipBio said the trials, carried out over a six-month period on close to 5,000 fish, are some of the most comprehensive dedicated evaluations ever conducted using a single-cell protein as an aquafeed ingredient. 

Larry Feinberg: Independent research.
Larry Feinberg: Independent research.


Chief executive Larry Feinberg said: “We partnered with a respected independent research institution to ensure objectivity and evaluated the effect of diet on growth using more than 250 experimental populations.

“The trial results have proven to be overwhelmingly positive and we believe provide strong evidence that KBM is a highly effective feed ingredient for salmonids including juvenile rainbow trout.”

Two of the trials studied the effect on growth when poultry meal and SPC were replaced with KBM. The other two trials substituted KBM for SeaPro 75, a high-performance fishmeal containing at least 75% protein. In each of the trials, the experimental design used 60 aquariums, each containing 20 trout randomly assigned to one of 12 populations groups.

Growth indices

The control population was fed a standard industry diet, while the other populations were fed diets where varying amounts of KBM replaced a portion of the fishmeal, chicken protein, and SPC. Each trial was conducted over a 28-day period, and measurements were taken at 14 days and at the end of the trial.

Feinberg said: “The researchers found that KBM outperformed a control diet based on poultry meal and SPC by statistically meaningful amounts for all growth indices. Additionally, diets containing up to 15% KBM performed similarly to a diet containing super-premium fishmeal with 75% crude protein. 

“Importantly, our knowledge of how our single-cell protein feed ingredient performs is advancing with each successive trial. Now that we have demonstrated the efficacy of KBM as a feed for juvenile trout, we intend to conduct additional research to isolate and study the immuno-nutritional properties of KBM in finfish populations undergoing stress conditions and possible disease challenges.”

More details on the design and results for two of the trials can be found in the White Paper page of KnipBio’s website.