October 4, 2023

28 Jun 2023 — Functional yeast supplier Angel Yeast and the Hubei Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China, will conduct R&D to expand current agricultural microbiology solutions with a host of new microbial products and probiotics designed specifically for fertilizing agents, livestock rearing and aquaculture. 

Harnessing the power of microbes, the partnership’s biological solutions are not only considered highly functional, but also present opportunities to reduce the farming industry’s over-reliance on chemical fertilizers.

“The two sides integrate resources and cooperate in carrying out the development and application research of animals, plants and agricultural products based on yeast sources, to promote the integrated development and improvement of agricultural industrialization,” Le Jin Dai, senior manager of the Bio-agricultural Technology Center at Angel Yeast, tells Nutrition Insight

“At present, the two sides are cooperating in researching microorganisms that can degrade feed mycotoxins, inhibit Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, prevent agricultural crop root rot and prevent agricultural crop root-knot nematodes.” 

Yeast as organic fertilizer 
Dai explains that the partnership’s efforts support a circular economy, as it engages in upcycling sidestream byproducts from traditional yeast production. 

Person holding a petri-dish with bacteria. Angel Yeast transforms the fermentation wastewater after yeast production into bio-organic fertilizer.“We transform the fermentation wastewater after yeast production into bio-organic fertilizer, which is rich in a large number of organic matter, humus, medium and microelements, vitamins and other bioactive substances.” 

“Compared with chemical fertilizers, its application in rice, citrus, tea and vegetables has a better effect. This can ultimately reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and alleviate soil degradation.” 

He adds that the bioactive substances in bio-organic fertilizer can promote plant rooting, green leaves, strong stems, improved crop yield and resist pathogen attacks, thus reducing the use of pesticides. 

In addition, Dai notes these bio-organic fertilizers can reduce the risk of the agricultural residue of synthetic chemicals on crops, which promotes food product safety.

Probiotics in food production  
Dai explains the functionality of probiotics in food production. In livestock and aquaculture, probiotics can benefit the health of animals when ingested in appropriate doses. 

“It is used as an animal additive to promote health and production by regulating the immune function of the host mucosa and system. It also regulates the balance of intestinal flora and produces some digestive enzymes, organic acids or beneficial substances in intestinal metabolism.” 

He continues that these can promote growth, disease resistance and treatment, improving feed digestibility and other functions. 

“Some micro-ecological preparations or probiotics are also directly used in aquaculture, using organic matter such as fish excrement in water to reproduce, which can reduce nitrite, ammonia nitrogen, hydrogen sulfide, etc.” 

They can also purify pond residual baits and excrement, improve water quality and reduce the incidence of aquatic animal diseases.

“For agricultural planting, microecological preparations or probiotics can be used as a microbial fertilizer or biostimulant to improve soil properties, improve soil fertility and reduce the amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides year by year.”

Probiotics produce beneficial metabolites, which prevent the survival and propagation of microorganisms harmful to crops, Dai explains. They also reduce and gradually eliminate soil-borne pests and diseases and continuous cropping obstacles. 

Two cows grazing. Probiotics can benefit the health of animals in livestock and aquaculture, says Dai.In addition, some particular microorganisms also help to inhibit weed growth and promote flower and fruit quality.

Strategic plans in biological agriculture 
Angel Yeast plans to expand its business in biological agriculture, focusing on agricultural food security with its new feed additives, bio-stimulants and biopesticides. In addition, it will target resource shortages by enhancing the efficiency of raw materials.

On the consumer end, the China-based company aims to improve flavor and nutrition in meat and vegetables and expand its range of bioproducts with synthetic biology. 

Last year, the company presented new yeast-based solutions at the Food Ingredients Europe trade fair in France, including yeast proteins for plant-based milk and new yeast extract taste products. 

“In the next three to five years, the scope of product development will be further extended,” continues Dai. “Some new products will be listed, such as a series of yeast cultures and yeast fermentation protein products developed by relying on the synergistic technology of actinobacteria enzymes and agricultural byproduct resources.” 

The company will also develop biostimulant products through the mining of microbial germplasm resources, he adds. 

According to Dai, this research is also based on the current strategy of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan bioeconomy development plan. 

“Through the potential exploitation of microbial resources, several microbial products with strains specific and industrialization ability can be put on the market to provide products and technical support for the green and sustainable development of China’s animal husbandry and planting industry.”

By Jolanda van Hal 

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