NUTRITION INSIGHT: Comet Bio boosts arabinoxylan dietary fiber production with upcycling factory


By Inga de Jong 


Arrabina prebiotic dietary fiber manufacturer Comet Bio has opened a new production facility in Denmark to produce arabinoxylan dietary fiber. The facility uses its patented upcycling process and is set to supply more than four million kg of arabinoxylan for food, beverage and supplement customers annually.

“The plant in Kalundborg is an integrated production facility founded on symbiosis and upcycling. The waste from the ethanol facility is upcycled into additional energy, and the effluent streams are upcycled to produce biogas,” Rich Troyer, CEO of Comet Bio, tells NutritionInsight. 

The UK and US-based company upcycles leftover wheat straw from wheat harvesting in partnership with Meliora Bio, turning it into Arrabina and cellulosic ethanol.

Fiber for every formulation
The Food and Drug Administration-approved Arrabina arabinoxylan dietary fiber was developed to fill the market need for a low-dose prebiotic fiber. The soluble powders are pH and heat-resistant, making them easy to add to existing formulations, including gummies and shelf-stable carbonated beverages. 

“Arabinoxylan is a naturally occurring dietary fiber that has been recognized for decades for its beneficial effects. For example, there are over 40 clinical trials demonstrating its benefits,” says Troyer. “However, Comet is the first to develop and bring to market a purified, easy-to-use Arabinoxylan ingredient, which we call Arrabina.”

he increased supply of Arrabina will improve supply chain sustainability and enhance the gut health benefits of products. 

“Arrabina is made as a soluble powder because it provides the greatest functionality for our customers. The multiple grades of fully-soluble powders are pH and heat-resistant, making them easy to add to existing formulations, even gummies and shelf-stable carbonated beverages,” he explains.

Circular economy upgrades
In 2021, the company partnered with Meliora Bio to upgrade and expand its existing facility. The facility is part of the Kalundborg Eco-Industrial Park (Kalundborg Symbiosis), an industrial network of private and public companies focused on circular economy principles. 

In addition, Comet Bio closed a series C funding round at US$22 million, which allowed it to invest in a dedicated manufacturing facility.

The company’s Arrabina is Upcycled Certified, while Meliora Bio partners with farmers to source local wheat straw for its production. The whole harvest is used, which has several benefits for farmers.

“This facility is our first dedicated commercial facility, and it’s supplying a dietary fiber demand that is growing by about 100 million kg a year. We are therefore already planning to grow our capabilities in the near future to continue supplying our customer’s growing demand,” Troyer says.

Jacob Jensen, the Danish minister of food, agriculture and fisheries, comments on the facility: “By prioritizing sustainability in our food production, we can create a brighter and more equitable future for all. This [facility] marks an important step in that direction.”