The proliferating use of natural resources in the animal feed industry is proving to be detrimental in the long run. Manufacturers have been working towards addressing the dire situations that might arise with their long-term use. Research for sustainable sources has been the main focus in the recent past. One such successful development in the organic animal feed industry is the use of wood protein. Wood protein has shown significant advantages in comparison to conventional protein sources. The usage of wood protein is likely to spell new developments in the functional feed industry.

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Organic Trend to Augment the Future of Wood Protein

Feed ingredients account for a prominent part of the cost involved in the production of poultry- and livestock-derived goods. Owing to the rapidly increasing demand for functional feed, key players involved in the production of animal feed have been showing a change of orientation towards the usage of organic ingredients. Demand garnered by organic ingredients such as agar agar is likely to help the growth of the wood protein market. The sustainable usage of multiple wood residues for the production of feed has been the major attraction of wood protein. Wood protein can be used in animal feed for cattle, aquaculture, poultry, and swine. The usage of wood protein for aquaculture has undergone evaluations and comparisons with conventional protein sources. Trials have showcased the success of wood protein and equivalent nutritional performance. Wood protein is likely to be the answer for the ‘food or fuel’ question, as it does not compete with food crops or the resources needed to produce food.

Inception of Wood Protein

Arbiom, an agriculture-biotechnology-based company, is a pioneer in the development of wood protein. The company has showcased its enzymes for wood protein production in multiple entrepreneurial competitions and conventions, and has received multiple grants and investments in recent years. The company recently reported the production of wood protein in tonnage. An increase in production capacity has attracted multiple new grants for increasing the production and execution of wood protein projects.

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New Protein in Vegan Diets from the Woods

Wood protein is also being pitched to be used as human edible protein. Research for this application is still ongoing. Trials and test results will determine the feasibility of this idea. If the trials are successful and approved, wood protein may emerge as one of the most viable options for functional foods. Current plant- and animal-based protein foods have experienced substantial growth due to increasing awareness. Wood protein can potentially help reduce the gap of demand and supply in functional foods. Human edible wood protein is likely to be one of the most sustainable and much needed source of protein for vegan and similar experimental diets. One similar new product introduced in the market is plant-based meats. Introduced as a vegan meat, the product quickly gained acceptance from the masses. A similar inclusion of wood protein can be expected over the next few years.

Reforestation – New Blessing for Wood Protein

Existing industrial supply chains will help wood protein producers. Wood protein is likely to fill in the gap of the ever-increasing demand for functional feeds. The most recent disruption of forest loss has been countered by heavy reforestation in the United States, Europe, and China. Similar projects and movements have been noticed in Latin America. Efforts are likely to be accelerated due to the recent fire in the Amazon forest. The main advantage that wood protein will present is the usage of waste and excess wood, without disruption and deforestation.

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