Making microalgae a sustainable future source of proteins and vitamins (MASSPROVIT)
Development of new approaches to improve growth rates as well as improvement of yield and bioaccessibility of proteins and vitamins are necessary for microalgae to become a regular food source. The objective of MASSPROVIT project is to overcome these challenges by using mutagenesis and selection to improve growth and yield and to develop technology to improve bioaccessibility of proteins and vitamins.
Current protein sources fail to meet the expected increased demand for high-quality proteins for food in the future. Microalgae have potential to become an environmentally sustainable and healthy source of food and feed ingredients at major scale. Microalgae have the highest protein content/kg raw material among existing protein sources. We aim to boost the productivity and nutritional value of future algae-based food and feed ingredients, with the capacity to decarbonise the food system beyond just substituting import of soy protein.
Apart from being rich in protein and essential amino acids, microalgae contain healthy marine omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. Microalgae should be part of the future solution for providing a non-animal source of proteins, vitamins D3 and K2 and long chain omega-3 fatty acids (PUFAs), needed for the transition to a more plant based diet. MASSPROVIT will focus on phototrophic cultivation, which belongs to the emerging portfolio of carbon capture and utilisation technologies transforming CO2 into bio-based products.
Despite these benefits, a number of challenges have so far hindered implementation of big scale algal cultivation in Denmark. New approaches to improve productivity and bioaccessibility of proteins, PUFA and vitamins are needed before microalgae can become a regular food ingredient source. MASSPROVIT will develop hybridLCA models, i.e. ex-ante LCA of the of the CO2 and resource footprint of MASSPROVIT technology and market entry scenario projections enabling a complete quantitative assessment of climate friendly future foods.
The overall objective of MASSPROVIT is to facilitate sustainable local Danish production of microalgae as a new source of non-animal protein and healthy compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins.
A second objective is to provide a proof of concept for the production of a low footprint protein-rich microalgae biomass, which may substitute Danish import of emission intensive proteins.
MASSPROVIT will focus on the microalga Nannochloropsis oceanica. Novel aspects are 1) the use of mutagenesis and selection to improve productivity and bioaccessibility of proteins and vitamins from microalgae and 2) new knowledge on the relationship between cultivation conditions and optimal nutritional composition of the genetically improved algal biomass
MASSPROVIT has received a three and a half year funding from the Independent Research Fund Denmark.
Period: January 1st, 2022 - June 30th, 2025