The Managed Ecosystem Fermentation (MEF) technology is a manufacturing process that converts biomass into multiple feedstocks for industry. Most manufacturing processes require multiple inputs to produce a single output. In contrast, MEF converts low value biomass into multiple materials used in industry today. Biomass used in the MEF process generally comes from organic waste streams, recycling of multiple materials and contributing to the sustainability of many other industrial processes. Essentially, MEF can make today’s organic waste into wide range of raw materials for other existing industries. MEF can reduce costs for organic waste generators and reduce acquisition costs for firms using the MEF products.
Protein: The MEF process is the only scalable technology in the world that can convert cellulosic matter into protein. Protein powders from the MEF process can be used in multiple industries, having twice the protein concentration of soybean meal. It can be used in the industrial production of paper, adhesives, and other materials. When MEF is made from feed-grade raw materials, it can then be used as animal feed; independent laboratory analysis has confirmed that the MEF produced protein is approximately 80% digestible by the animal.
Enzymes are one class of product from the MEF conversion of cellulose into proteins. Enzymes are biological catalysts that facilitate multiple chemical reactions and thereby reduce energy requirements. The enzymes produced in MEF include alpha-amylase, cellulase, pepsin, lysozyme, hemicellulase, aspartic acid, lysine, proline, carbohydrase, penicillin acylase, histidase, and peroxidase. These enzymes have application in the production of laundry and dish detergents, paper making, cosmetics, nylon, and many other industrial applications.
Volatile Fatty Acids: The MEF process produces acetic, propionic, valeric, iso-valeric, butyric, iso-butyric, and hexanonic acid. These are basic organic acids that are used throughout industry today. Each of these acids can be easily converted into many of the compounds we use every day both in our homes and in industry. The applications include adhesives, sealants, polymers, plasticizers, and industrial solvents.
Lipids: The production of proteins also produces lipids which are long chain fatty acids, having 16 to 24 carbons. The application of these materials include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, lubricants, sealants, and adhesives.
Biogas: MEF produces methane and carbon dioxide in controlled ratios, based on process configurations. Both the methane and carbon dioxide are used within the MEF system to improve its economic efficiencies. In contrast to anaerobic digestion, MEF does not produce any hydrogen sulfide gas.
The MEF process utilizes an all-natural ecosystem of more than 3,000 species of microbes, working together to rapidly convert cellulosic waste into multiple high-value compounds. The use of a complete ecosystem of microbes provides more chemical pathways to break down the organic material than is possible with any single species. MEF is a self-sustaining and an adaptive process that can deal with multiple forms of organic waste simultaneously. MEF works with a non-homogenous, non-sterile waste stream under non- sterile conditions, thereby minimizing the amount of energy required for the process. There are no genetically modified organisms employed within the MEF technology. The bottom line of MEF technology is the basic principle that any process must be economically sustainable so that it can become environmentally sustainable.