US food technology company Benson Hill is set to launch a range of genetically-modified (GM) ultra-high protein soyabeans in 2025, according to a Reuters report.

The GM soyabeans would supply the growing biofuels sector and expand the market for soyabean meal, the 7 June report said.

“We’re going to utilise the full genetic potential of the plant,” Benson Hill’s co-founder and CEO Matt Crisp was quoted as saying.

According to the report, Benson Hill’s ultra-high protein soyabeans have a 45%-50% protein content – up from 36%-39% - and are currently produced on just 0.2% of the 35.4Mha (87.5M acres) devoted to the crop in the USA.

The company was expecting to launch a GM herbicide-tolerant variety in 2025 – aimed at supplying the US poultry sector and Chilean salmon farms – Benson Hill’s director of grower innovation Kyle Smith was quoted as saying.

According to Iowa farmer Hans Riensche, Benson Hill’s non-GM ultra-high protein soyabeans would provide an opportunity to break into Europe’s aquaculture market.

While salmon and trout farms currently used only small amounts of regular soyabean meal – as some naturally-occurring carbohydrates irritated the fishes’ digestive tracts and slowed growth – the new varieties were more digestible, the report said.

Benson Hill’s Crisp said the company was partnering with European soyabean processor Denofa and US-based Riverence Holdings to help scale up demand for soyabeans in the aquaculture sector.

In addition, the company was working in collaboration with food giant Kellogg’s and leading global agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) to expand food ingredients for plant-based meats and dairy products as well as protein-enriched flour for baked goods, Crisp said.