Research

Microalgae as a sustainable protein source

March 2, 2020
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Senior consultant Jakob Skov Pedersen from the Danish Technological Institute at the photobioreactor in which the algae are grown from excess nutrients from beer production. Photo: Thomas Vilhelm

New Food Magazine reports that a new Danish project called “Microalgae for Food” has received DKK 750,000 (approximately $110,000US) in co-financing from the Ministry of Education and Research via the Danish Food Innovation network to find out how to use microalgae as a sustainable protein source.

According to recommendations from Denmark’s National Bioeconomy Panel, humans not only have an urgent need for more protein raw materials – but also raw materials based on sustainable production methods.

“In June 2018, the National Bioeconomy Panel released 15 recommendations on the proteins of the future. Among other things, it states that research and training efforts should be undertaken to promote the supply of protein value chains. The project “Microalgae for Food” will precisely address the need for new protein value chains and at the same time microalgae-based foods will support an increasing demand for a more plant-based diet,” said Anne Maria Hansen, member of the National Bioeconomy Panel and Director of Innovation, Danish Technological Institute.

Microalgae for food relies on collaboration between SMEs and knowledge institutions to get the best possible extract from microalgae. One of these companies is NatuRem Bioscience:

“What is particularly interesting about this project is the sustainability aspect. We brew the algae on side streams from the beer industry, we use new low-energy process methods and algae that grows really efficiently,” said Christian Kjølby, CTO at NatuRem Bioscience.

“The algae are a whole new potential food ingredient, which makes it super interesting to work with, and our expectation is that we finally have a finished protein source in powder form that can be used directly in the industry,” Mr. Kjølby said.

The project will focus on Chlorella vulgaris, which is already sold in the European market, and take place during 2020. The results of the projects are expected to be ready by the end of the year. The money allocated to the project comes from a pool of DKK 12 million (approximately US$1.8 million), which Danish Food Innovation has been awarded by the Ministry of Education and Research.

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