Salmon food from whisky

Friday, 04 October, 2013

The Scottish salmon and whisky industries are teaming up to boost sustainability. The partnership will convert co-products from whisky production into feed for salmon and fish farming.

More than 500 million litres of whisky are produced in the UK each year, but for each litre of whisky produced, up to 15 litres of co-products are also generated.

Chemical engineers from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh are looking to convert some of the co-products into protein-rich feed, which could have the added benefit of providing a sustainable and economic supply of feedstock for the growing Scottish fish farming industry.

A pilot plant trial of the Horizons Proteins project is scheduled for August 2014 in a whisky distillery to assess the economic, nutritional, environmental and chemical engineering processes involved in large-scale production of the proteins.

“Distillery effluent can be damaging, but also contains potentially valuable nutrients and micronutrients,” said David Brown, chief executive of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). “The co-products can also be used to produce a microbial biomass which has the potential to be a cheap and sustainable source of protein-rich feed.

“The academic team at Heriot-Watt University have already been recognised for their excellent work by IChemE’s Food and Drink Special Interest Group. Their work and others looking at the microbial treatment of by-products is very exciting and has many potential applications including crude oil recovery, healthcare and in environmental protection like bioremediation of sites affected by heavy metals and other contaminants.”

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