Skip to main content

EGGR - becoming the Eggspert in egg based bioreactors

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EGGR (EGGR - becoming the Eggspert in egg based bioreactors)

Reporting period: 2017-09-29 to 2018-09-28

Worldwide, billions of male chicks are killed each year due to them not being able to produce eggs. We have developed a device to screen eggs early in embryogenesis, removing the males from the incubation process and preventing needless killing. A repeated question that was asked of us, was: “What will you do with the would-be male eggs?” The EGGR project was borne out of our desire to answer this question. Its scope was to use this new waste stream as a feedstock for a microbial biotechnological process yielding valuable products. The first year of the project has seen an extensive ideation process yielding a process that can generate high yields of a safe and efficacious pest control measure for use in the poultry sector.
The project started with an extensive ideation and problem-solving process. We identified that we wanted to be true to the principles of circular, bio-based economy and generate a product that had positive impact on the poultry sector. Potential products and their relevant microbial chasses were identified and the ability for said chasses to grow on egg-based media were assessed in proof of principle experiments.

Proof of principle studies identified one clear application for egg waste: generation of a biocidal agent for a specific parasite, with huge animal welfare and production efficiency impacts. This new focus led to two research fields: optimisation of production of that agent and testing of its efficacy against the parasite. Both proved successful and preliminary technoeconomic analysis shows that on an industrial scale this process should be both technically feasible and will be financially viable.

This project yielded a successful collaboration with the University of Nottingham’s School of Life Science and Department of Chemical Engineering, providing full technoeconomic analysis and efficacy assessments, results of which will be available in November 2018.

We are currently looking to secure patents for the process of generating the biocontrol agent and its used against parasites. Following this, we look to publish our research, showcasing the first real valorisation of hatchery waste to generate a product with huge impact.
Although currently there are no waste streams stemming from commercial implementation of gender screening, hatcheries have several protein-rich waste streams. The state of the art in this field of waste disposal is to pay for companies specialising in removal of animal-derived products to take waste away to be incinerated. Not only does this increase the environmental impact of hatchery operations, it also costs more than €150 per tonne to be removed. Successful implementation of gender screening is expected to increase “waste” ten-fold, however, through our process, we are able to convert it from a cost to an additional revenue stream.

As well as the process being beneficial to the hatcheries financially, its end product is expected to have huge impacts. Our product is not only sustainable in its production process, but it will have no negative health implications to birds or humans consuming their eggs and will avoid the environmental impacts for which many pesticides come under criticism for.

We hope this project will act as a beacon for circular biobased economy, showcasing how well thought through innovation management can provide genuine impact.
Fertilised eggs in a hatchery