From start to finish, the production process takes only 24 hours
Spotted: Fermentation is a well-established component of food preservation, dating back thousands of years to early human civilisations. Yet, it wasn’t until the late 1600s that the science behind the practice became understood. More recently, fermentation has begun to drive innovation in food production. Germany’s MicroHarvest is using the efficiency of microorganism growth to produce food-grade proteins in 24 hours.
With a tank-based system, MicroHarvest’s proteins can be grown year-round in any location. The production process is incredibly resource-efficient when compared to the water, feed, and land required to farm animals and crops.
To make the protein, a strain of bacteria is chosen and combined with a growth agent. After being placed in the tanks, it ferments and grows. Up to 60 per cent of what is produced is protein. After harvesting, the protein is separated from the biomass, and water is extracted, leaving a lightweight, shelf-stable powder. The powder form makes it lighter and less expensive to transport and is usable as a protein base in food for humans, pets, and aquaculture farming.
The scalability of the process, and its speed, make it ideal for local production, something that helps to further reduce the protein’s carbon footprint. MicroHarvest has patented its processes and ingredients and is working to bring its products to market.
From insect-based animal feed proteins to plant-based bioreactors for lab-grown meat, Springwise has spotted many innovations in alternative proteins that seek to attain carbon neutrality in their production processes.
Written By: Keely Khoury