The production of a new protein feed for pigs, which makes use of methane as a key energy source, is currently the focus of a joint science/industry research effort in Denmark.
Driven by scientists from Aarhus University, the feed development project is geared to the creation of new protein products that are specifically tailored to the pig’s amino acid requirements.
The claim is that the new products can be based on a protein feed produced via the bacterial species Methylococcus capsulatus which “eats methane and converts the gas into biomass with a high crude protein content”. The biomass can then be converted into a protein granule that can be used in pig feed.
The work is part of a 3.5 year/£3m research programme which includes the Aarhus scientists, the feed company UniBio A/S, the Technical University of Denmark, University of Southern Denmark, and the farming cooperative, Vestjyllands Andel.
Working together, with financial backing from the Danish funding body, InnovationsFonden, the different research partners believe they can enable industry to make “better use” of methane than is currently the case, while also allowing Danish producers, and others, to reduce their reliance on imported soya.
In addition, by experimenting on pigs at this stage in the project, the Aarhus team claim the final result will “benefit both the pig and the environment”.