A Danish project has received DKK 750,000 (approximately $109,300) in funding to investigate the use of microalgae as a sustainable protein source.
The Danish project – a collaboration between SMEs and research institutions – has been financed by the Ministry of Education and Science via its networking body Danish Food Innovation.
Called Microalgae for foods, the project responds to the urgent need for more sustainable raw protein sources.
“The project 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 at the Danish Technological Institute.
According to the Danish Food Innovation, microalgae produces large amounts of protein with a higher content of essential amino acids and healthy fats than soy and pea protein.
Additionally, its production method results in minimal nitrogen and C02 emissions and requires almost no agricultural land for cultivation. Water consumption is also minimal, and no pesticides are used as the algae are grown in a closed system.
The project will focus on Chlorella vulgaris, a variety of microalgae with ‘good robustness’ and ‘high protein content’, with the aim of developing a protein source in powder form that can be used directly in the food industry.
The method relies on brewery side-streams and special technology to extract the microalgae protein.
“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 not forgetting the grateful algae that grows really efficiently,” said Christian Kjølby, chief technical officer at NatuRem Bioscience, one of the SMEs involved in the project.
Microalgae for foods will take place during the current year with the results expected to be ready by the end of 2020.
Six other projects have also been allocated funds totalling DKK 12 million ($1.35 million) by the Danish Food Innovation including investigating the use of insects as food ingredients.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020