Bio-Marine Ingredients Ireland (BII) has netted €5 million (US$5.9 million) in new investment. The biotech company is supplying extracts of proteins, oils and calcium from fish for food and animal feed applications. The new capital pushes up total funding to €30 million (US$35.3 million), propelling expansion of R&D activities and production of “underutilized” seafood ingredients – which may hold further rehabilitative potential as a functional food for treating sarcopenia and boosting satiety. Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, CEO Jason Whooley details a wealth of opportunity in the unchartered waters of oceanic protein solutions.
“Marine proteins are a small but growing segment of the market. Traditionally, these proteins have been used in the pet food and aquaculture sector and there is most familiarity with hydrolysates in these areas. However, as demand grows for alternative proteins, we’re seeing increasing interest from consumer markets,” Whooley explains.
BII’s 90 percent protein hydrolysate is marketed as “virtually fat-free” and as a viable replacement for monosodium glutamate (MSG) or yeast extract. “Soluble Fish Protein Hydrolysate (SPH90) has more glutamic acid than yeast extract,” Whooley says.
“The salt of glutamic acid is responsible for the umami taste and the taste enhancement. In addition, it is clean label and doesn’t contain any GMO ingredients, synthetic additives or chemical substances.”
BII’s high-protein SPH90, sourced from blue whiting (BW) fish is a free-flowing soluble spray-dried powder. It is described as having a “very neutral odor and slightly off-white appearance.”
With respect to the company’s proprietary information, Whooley does not go into detail regarding the manufacturing process of BII’s novel hydrolysates. “However, we are unique in that we are producing a 90 percent protein hydrolysate, which is 100 percent soluble in water and virtually fat-free. In addition, this powder is a rich source of proteins, peptides, amino acids, nucleotides, vitamin B12 and other minerals.”
The raw materials for BII’s bio-refinery are wild-caught and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) approved, caught “just hours” from the Irish coast. The company’s main shareholders are fishermen and fishing companies who supply the majority of the fish being supplied to the BII factory. This, Whooley notes, enables “full control” over the supply chain and therefore a guarantee of traceability.