Single Cell Proteins to advance bio-economy in animal feed

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Single cell protein Aquaculture Fishmeal Protein Feed additives alternative protein shrimp

SCPs with a 'remarkable protein content' can serve as an environmentally-friendly alternative to animal-derived proteins

Single Cell Protein (SCP) production can “significantly advance” the circular bio-economy which can foster applications in animal feed, a new research has revealed.

The article called Recent advances in the production of single cell protein from renewable resources and applications” ​published in Carbon Resources Conversion​highlighted that SCP, which refers to dry cells of microorganisms, present a rich nutritional profile containing valuable amino acids and fatty acids, nucleic acids, minerals, and several vitamins. These microorganisms stand out for their “remarkable protein content” it said.

The research highlighted that SCP primarily sourced from microorganisms such as yeasts, fungi, bacteria and algae, can serve as an environmentally-friendly alternative to animal-derived proteins. Furthermore, the microorganisms exhibit the capacity to thrive on a diverse range of substrates for their growth, including waste materials.

An environmentally sustainable protein source

By leveraging renewable resources derived from different waste streams within the food and agricultural sector, such as dairy waste, crop residues, sugar industry by-products, and fruit waste, it concluded there was the potential to greatly enhance SCP production from a standpoint of socio-economic and environmental sustainability for both human and animal food.

It also said that as the microorganisms are involved in biorefinery schemes, circular bio-economy concepts could be boosted, encouraging the further expansion of the SCP market in animal feed.

The article also highlighted that SCP has already been used as a protein source for fish-meals.  Several yeast species have already been used as potential protein alternative for fishmeal, soybean meal or plant-based protein.  

The benefits of SCPs in fishmeal

It highlighted a raft of recent studies as evidence.

For example, SCP obtained from Corynebacterium ammoniagenes​ was applied to replace up to 40% of shrimps’ diet. The best results were obtained at 10% substitution improving final weight, weight gain, specific growth and feed conversion ratio compared to higher substitution percentages.

SCP obtained from Clostridium autoethanogenum​ was used to replace plant proteins (up to 200 g/kg) in Jian carp fish diets. In this case, final body weight, weight gain, specific growth rate, protein retention value, and protein efficiency ratio were significantly improved in fished that were fed with SCP.

Also, brewer's yeast was effectively used to replace up to 24% of soybean meal and fishmeal in shrimps feed with no significant differences in final biomass, survival, protein retention efficiency and feed conversion rate.

“Particularly when SCP production is integrated into biorefinery frameworks, it can significantly advance circular bio-economy concepts, fostering the continued growth of the SCP market for applications in animal feed, innovative food formulations, and bioactive food packaging,” explains Danai Ioanna Koukoumaki, first author of the review.

Source: Carbon Resources Conversion
‘Recent advances in the production of single cell protein from renewable resources and applications’
Published online 26 July 2023
Authors: Danai Ioanna Koukoumaki, Erminta Tsouko, Dimitris Sarris et al.

Video credit: GettyImages/ozgurdonmaz 

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