Capital participation and business tie-up with Australian start-up company in land-based aquaculture of "Asparagopsis" seaweed～Aiming to reduce methane emitted by cattle and other animals～
Nissui Corporation (President and CEO: Shingo Hamada, Minato-ku, Tokyo) has invested in Australian seaweed business Seascape Restorations Australia Pty Ltd ("Immersion Group", CEO Scott Elliott, Portarlington, Victoria, Australia).
Immersion Group specializes in the cultivation of "Asparagopsis", a type of red seaweed that contributes to the reduction of methane emissions from ruminants and is attracting attention as a global warming countermeasure in the livestock industry.
Immersion Group CEO Scott Elliott (left) and Nissui President Hamada (right)
Methane (CH4), is a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and has about 28 times(*1) the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide (CO2). Methane is emitted during the digestion process of ruminants such as cattle and sheep.
Asparagopsis is a type of red algae that is distributed in tropical and subtropical waters of Asia and Oceania. Asparagopsis suppresses methane emissions from cattle by up to 98% by inhibiting methanogenic bacteria, and has also been found to improve growth by up to 22% - 26% by improving metabolism(*2). Based on these findings, research is now underway to cultivate and produce Asparagopsis as a feedstuff.
Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) established a commercial entity, FutureFeed, which holds two patents for the use of Asparagopsis for reduction of methane in ruminant livestock.
Immersion Group is one of nine FutureFeed licence holders globally, and the only company with permission to sell Asparagopsis into Japan. Immersion Group is a start-up company founded by Dr John Statton and Scott Elliott in 2021, and since then it has established technology for the production of Asparagopsis seedlings and developed its own highly efficient land-based aquaculture system and plans to build a pilot plant to commercialize it.
Immersion Group CEO Scott Elliott said the Nissui investment would allow rapid scaling of the company's proprietary production technique for Asparagopsis onshore.
Nissui plans to support Immersion Group's construction of a pilot plant near Geelong in Victoria, Australia and expansion of processing bases, as well as to verify the effectiveness and safety of the product and conduct test sales in Japan from 2024 to confirm the feasibility of commercialization.
Nissui also expects synergies in developing seaweed land-based aquaculture know-how and technology through the collaboration with Immersion Group.
Nissui positions this collaboration, which will also contribute to global warming countermeasures, as a new "food" initiative that will lead to the realization of a sustainable future, based on its mid-term management plan "Good Foods Recipe 1" (FY2022-2024).
This project was selected as the top prize winner in an internal competition for new businesses conducted in 2021.
*1 Source: IPCC Fifth Assessment Report
*2 Source: Journal of Cleaner Production 259 (2020) 120836