BioAmber targets new market for succinic acid

February 2, 2018 – Paul Morden, The Observer – Encouraging results in a commercial trial co-sponsored by BioAmber could help open a new market for succinic acid the company makes in Sarnia.

BioAmber co-sponsored a commercial study with an unnamed leading North American feed formulator on the effectiveness of its succinic acid as an ingredient in feed for nursery pigs.

“It was a month-and-a-half study, I think there was over 1,000 piglets,” said Roy McDowall, senior vice-president of business development for BioAmber.

He said the “takeaway” from the results is that using the company’s succinic acid in the place of a component in a commercial blend of feed saves money, while showing similar results in growth patterns.

“The real upside is that if you increase the amount of succinic acid a little bit, it has a very, very material impact on the weight gain of the pigs,” McDowall said.

The pigs, he added, “get fatter faster.”

Montreal-based BioAmber makes succinic acid from corn syrup through a fermentation process at its manufacturing plant on Vidal Street in Sarnia.

Succinic-acid is a building block chemical used in plastics, paints, textiles, food additives and personal care products.

“Our understanding is that succinic acid in animal feed is recognized already in the U.S. and in Europe and Asia,” McDowell said.

“It’s just a matter now, that we’re got the data out there, of sitting down with the feed guys and getting it into their product.”

BioAmber representatives attended the International Production and Processing Expo, said to be the world’s largest annual poultry, feed and meat technology exposition, held recently in Atlanta.

“The size of the market is massive,” McDowell said.

“That’s why it’s really significant.”

McDowell said the company is also focusing on other possible uses, such as poultry feed.

The news release said in vitro tests also confirmed that the company’s succinic acid exhibits antimicrobial activity against certain microorganisms at lower concentrations than other organic acids.

“Animal feed represents an extremely large market opportunity for BioAmber, and these studies show that our produce could play an important role in antibiotic replacement,” CEO Richard Eno said in the news release.

He added the company’s succinic acid “can assist the animal feed industry’s continued move away from antibiotics as well as its ongoing drive for enhanced feed productivity, while at the same time improving the overall sustainability of the supply chain.”

McDowell said that when BioAmber started out there was “a finite market for succinic acid” but it has continued to expand as the company works with customers on new applications.

“This study for us is revolutionary in the sense it just opened up an incredibly large market, and that changes the game for us,” he said.

While reporting quarterly financial results in November, Eno said BioAmber was concentrating on finding customers for the full 30,000 tonne capacity of the Sarnia plant it opened in 2015.

He also said BioAmber was focusing plans for a future second larger plant on a site in Sarnia.

Posted in: Headlines