2017-12-01 08:30

From dissertation to startup company

Challenges with industrial waste can now be solved using a biological process while a new product is being created – high protein fungi feed. Ramkumar Nair, former PhD student at the Swedish Centre for Resource Recovery, developed the technology during his dissertation which has led to a spin-off startup company.

The startup company Mycorena AB has received SEK200,000 in funding from Chalmers Innovation Office to verify the process. 

The focus is to develop clean technology processes using edible filamentous fungi. One example is sugar industry waste, which is a big problem in countries such as India. From this industrial waste, by using the company’s patented process (pending approval) you can make aquatic or animal feed components with the fungi protein.

Ramkumar Nair, together with other researchers and doctoral students Mostafa Jabbari, Swarnima Agnihotri, Alex Osagie, Veronika Batori, and Dan Andersson at the University of Borås, as well as others in the team, are now trying to develop the process to apply it onto the real world.

“Our research group at the university is focused on building waste management processes and developing a circular economy concept at the industries, so our research is very much aligned to what the industry needs”, says Ramkumar Nair.

He underlines that the research at the Resource Recovery group was a strong motivating factor for him to thinking about starting up the company.

“Mycorena is probably the first spin-off startup from the doctoral students at Resource Recovery that makes real business out of the thesis-research results.”

Animal feed a bonus

 Waste management is a big problem in developing countries such as India or Brazil.

“We hope to address this problem by using our fungi-based processes, and the feed protein is the bonus, which I hope will drive the commercial or business-related aspect of Mycorena”, says Ramkumar Nair.

In addition to the support from the Department of Resource Recovery and Building Technology, the company is also promoted by the Grants and Innovation Office at the University of Borås, the Incubator in Borås, and the Swedish startup support agency ALMI Väst.

“It feels great to actually materialise my research findings into real life, and I am immensely happy that there is a huge support system here in Sweden that backs up the dreams of people like us, who want to do something outside our home countries”, he says.

The Mycorena Team consists of doctoral students and researchers from India, Iran, Nigeria, and Hungary, who have come to Sweden to pursue their doctoral educations within the Resource Recovery group.

Read more

About the research at Resource Recovery  http://www.hb.se/en/Research/Areas/Swedish-Center-for-Resource-Recovery/

About Mycorena AB  https://www.mycorena.com/

Text: Anna Kjellsson
Photo: Suss Wilén