Pekilo protein: Past, present and future Heikki Keskitalo and Simo Ellilä, eniferBio
Figure 1. Pekilo protein.
The past The Pekilo process is an aseptic, continuous fermentation process that produces single-cell protein (SCP). In the process, cell mass with a high crude protein percentage is produced by cultivating mycelium-forming Pekilo fungus in a suitable solution containing carbohydrates and/or organic acids (Forss & Paasinen, 1976). The process was originally developed by the Finnish Pulp and Paper Research Institute (Oy Keskuslaboratorio, KCL), and the process techniques were further developed by Oy Tampella Ab and United Paper Mills Ltd. In all, process development took ten years, from 1963 to 1973 (Ingman, Yrjölä & Forss, 1974). In Finland, Pekilo protein was officially accepted for animal feed purposes in 1971 (Ingman, Yrjölä & Forss,
1974), in 1978 by Czechoslovakia and in 1981 by Sweden (Lehtomäki & Rikkinen, 1982). The first industrial-scale Pekilo process operated from 1975-1982 at the Jämsänkoski Mills of United Paper Mills Ltd, producing Pekilo from spent sulfite liquor, a by-product of papermaking. The production capacity of the Jämsänkoski plant was 10,000 tons of Pekilo product per year, i.e. 10-15 % of the plant’s cellulose production. The second industrial-scale Pekilo plant operated from 1982-1991 at the Mänttä Mills of G.A. Serlachius Ltd. Pekilo contained approximately 50% protein and was used as a substitute for soy meal in feed mixtures for pigs and poultry in Finland. Pekilo protein was extensively tested as an animal feed for pigs and poultry in many countries and was proved to be a safe and valuable source of protein (Järvinen
Aquafeed: Advances in Processing & Formulation Vol 13 Issue 1 2021