Month: February 2019

Xanthella presents ENBIO at Scottish Whisky Innovation Event

The Scottish Whisky Research Innovation Centre (SWRI) held a novel “Biotechnology Meets Co-product Innovation Day” on 19th February at their Edinburgh headquarters. Xanthella joined a number of other industrial biotechnology providers to present and discuss options for the Scottish whisky distillers in adding value to their co-products. It is estimated that the Scottish whisky manufacturing produces over 4 million tonnes of co-products in the shape of spent grains and nutrient rich pot ale every year. Traditionally these co-products have been used in farming or simply disposed of, but increasing whisky production and a desire to move to more circular economy measures has prompted the whisky industry to look more closely at its co-products to see if there are better solutions available.

Around sixty people attended the meeting, about half of which were senior management from the whisky industry itself, but there were also a number of representatives from the finfish aquaculture and feed sectors. They were interested in the possibilities of turning whisky co-products into fish feeds, or ingredients for fish feeds, as this would improve the security of supply and displace imports into Scotland. There was particular interest in the possibilities of removing the need to import fish meal. The major challenge in this is scale as the salmon feed companies use large quantities of fish meal or plant proteins, therefore any substitution would require large scale and predictable supply coming from whisky co-products.

Xanthella outlined the Zero Waste Scotland funded ENBIO project and how this seeks to enhance rural economic activity through integrating fermentation CO2 and nutrients from whisky co-products with growing microalgae for high value products that could be used in Scotland’s aquaculture sector. Essential in this approach is to take full advantage of Scotland’s renewable energy resource. Douglas McKenzie from Xanthella explained their “LISA” (Local Integrated Systems Approach) strategy which seeks to evaluate and integrate local resources using a circular economy approach and shared with the delegates the progress on the Ardnamurchan photobioreactor array being built as part of the ENBIO project.

The meeting closed with a useful and entertaining “speed dating” session where the delegates went round all of the presenting companies and were able to ask them questions around their technologies. The event was deemed a success and particularly interesting because of its cross-sectorial nature.

Xanthella launch new low temperature laboratory photobioreactor

Xanthella have announced the launch of a new version of their easy-to-use and highly flexible microPharos PBR™ photobioreactor system, the cryoPharos PBR™.  Not only is the cryoPharos PBR™ ideal for conducting laboratory scale research experiments on a wide range of photosynthetic organisms, this new PBR has been specifically designed to grow organisms that require low temperatures (for example arctic microalgae). The cryoPharos PBR™ is capable of reaching temperatures lower than 0°C even when it is installed on your lab bench at room temperature. No need for a cold room anymore!
A starter cryoPharos PBR™ system consists of two airlift 1000 ml tanks illuminated by external LED light tiles, along with a Zeus II Controller™ unit that measures and maintains the culture conditions in the tanks according to user-defined specifications.
The different components that make up the cryoPharos PBR™ are very easy to assemble thanks to the clever magnetic fixing design. Within the tanks the amount of light provided to the culture can be accurately measured as the side walls of the tanks are flat resulting in a simple light path of 5cm. The system also includes all the equipment necessary to manage temperature, pH and gas input. Too often experiments are done without controlling all three of these criteria making it difficult to have confidence in the results. The culture parameters that can be regulated in the starter system are:

• pH, using pH probe and CO2 injection;
• Temperature, between -2 to 40°C;
• Light intensity from 20 to 1500 µmol photon/s/m2;
• Light/dark cycles, tracking and flashing light.

The cryoPharos PBR™ system is versatile and can be adapted to suit different requirements, for example by adding more 1000 ml PBR tanks, or modifying the types and wavelengths of the LED lights.

If you would like more information or a demonstration of the cryoPharos PBR™ system contact Xanthella at