Microalgae: Potential as a future source of food and feed
The global population is expected to increase by more than 30% over the next 30 years. This leads to an urgent need for increased production of food and feed. Furthermore, there is a great unmet need to rethink how we allocate our resources in a more sustainable way.
Since the last part of the 19th century, the increasing demand for food has been met by intensifying and optimizing agricultural production, using fertilizers and expanding the agricultural area. Currently, the European protein demand is comprised by 65% import and associated with a high environmental footprint including land use and emission of greenhouse gasses.Microalgae has the potential to become a key part of the solution. Being rich in protein, healthy omega-3 fatty acids (PUFA) and vitamins, algae provide nutritionally complete biomass with a productivity 10-15 times higher than conventional protein crops.Many microalgae can be produced photosynthetically like plants, utilizing sunlight to fix CO2, as well as heterotrophically by uptake of organic carbon. Each approach holds a great potential for future food supply just like both types of cultivation have certain caveats that require more research to solve.In the project “Microalgae for food production” funded by Danish Food Innovation, a consortium of Danish partners has joint forces to bring the field of sustainable algae production and biomass processing to the next level.Some of the main obstacles limiting the prevalence of microalgae in the food and feed market are addressed, including:
Optimized protein bioavailability
Energy efficient harvest
Strain breeding for improved color and taste
This one-day conference, will provide an overview of the ongoing research and development activities within the fields of algae production and downstream biomass processing on a national as well as international level.