Story

A start-up with a history – the past, present and future of PEKILO®.

The development of the PEKILO® process was instigated by the pulp and paper industry in Finland in the 1960s, aiming to add value to dilute side streams from sulfite wood pulping.

The R&D program evaluated more than 300 microbes before finally settling on Paecilomyces variotii KCL-24 – a microfungus with exceptionally suitable characteristics.

The unwieldy Latin name was abbreviated to PEKILO®, and development efforts shifted to developing an integrated production process.

After a decade of R&D, the first fully fledged PEKILO® plant was completed in Jämsänkoski in 1974. The annual production of 10 kilotons was sold as pig and poultry feed in the Finnish market, and detailed scientific trials carried out on a wide range of animals. Together with a second plant built in Mänttä in 1985, the process was in industrial use for more than 15 years, until meeting an untimely end in 1991.

The pulp industry had moved on, with modern plants producing no suitable side streams.

The PEKILO® fungus was stored at ultralow temperatures at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, hibernating until conditions turned favourable once more.

Enter eniferBio – a modern biotech company with a history. A group of VTT scientists turned entrepreneurs on a mission to re-establish PEKILO® production. In the global battle against climate change, novel biorefining processes have mushroomed in recent years, providing huge amounts of potential new raw materials. Since the 1990s, aquaculture has emerged as a major industry providing for a higher value end-use for the revamped PEKILO® P65 single cell protein product.

What does the future hold for PEKILO®?
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