A new high-protein microalgae strain developed by researchers has now been scaled up by Portuguese microalgae producer Allmicroalgae Natural Products. The scale up is part of the EU-funded Microalgae Protein Ingredients for the Food and Feed of the Future (ProFuture) project. The new Chlorella strain could be used to make vegan food products that are not only more nutritional but also taste better.
ProFuture’s vision is to create cost-effective and environmentally responsible microalgae production technologies that can provide sustainable and nutritious protein-rich foods and feeds. With their high nutritional value and smaller carbon footprint, microalgae are one of the most promising candidates for meeting the food needs of the world’s rapidly growing population.
Making algae taste better
As reported in a news item posted on NutritionInsight.com current microalgae-based foods on the market “often have a ‘grassy’ taste, intense green color and fishy odor” that many consumers consider unpleasant. The new Chlorella strain offers health benefits, has a higher protein content, and most importantly, from a consumer perspective, does not give food products the off-putting fishiness.
One of the organizations involved in the development of the new strain is ProFuture project partner GreenCoLab, also based in Portugal. Allmicroalgae has scaled up the strain’s production at its facilities.
The new Chlorella has subsequently been shipped to ProFuture coordinator Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA) in Spain, as well as to project partners Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) in Belgium and the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL).
According to the news item, ILVO is responsible for determining how the new ingredient will behave in food applications. When these results are released, IRTA and DIL will partner with food producers “to optimize healthy and tasty formulations using the Chlorella at lab level.”
The goal is to develop vegan food products such as sausages, snacks, soups, vegetable creams, sports drinks, bread and pasta with improved nutritional value and organoleptic properties.
To arrive at the new Chlorella strain, the researchers used random mutagenesis — a powerful tool for inducing mutations, used to generate proteins, enzymes and even entire genomes with improved properties.
The foods made with the new Chlorella strain will be fully characterized from biochemical, technological and sensorial perspectives. The best formulations will be scaled up by food producers and used to assess market uptake. The 4-year ProFuture project ends in September 2023.
Source: Cordis Europa
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