NextGenProteins will optimise the production of three alternative proteins and verify their use in various feed and food applications, in order to meet customers’ needs and ensure consumer acceptance. The project will contribute to strengthening food security, sustainability and self-sufficiency of EU protein production by demonstrating the suitability and economic viability of next-generation proteins as part of food and feed value chains; with less strain on natural resources and reduced environmental impacts.
NextGenProteins will optimise and validate, in an industrially relevant environment, the production of proteins from microalgae, single cells and insects and demonstrate their suitability as addition to, or substitute of, traditional protein sources in food and feed value chains.
Microalgae will be grown on carbon dioxide (CO2) emission from a geothermal power plant in an efficient, indoor production process, transforming waste into microalgal protein meal
Black solider flies and crickets will be grown on underutilised plant-food biomass, transforming waste into insect protein meal.
Single Cell Protein
Carbohydrates derived from wood biomass and biomass residues, will be transformed through microbial fermentation to turn non-food biomass into Single Cell Proteins.
NextGenProteins will focus on bioconversion of underutilized resources with the intention of expanding the sustainable European protein selection available for food and feed. Underutilized resources, e.g. plantbased biomass, often contain low or no amounts of protein; still they can be transformed through organism-based conversion processes that break them down, utilize their energy and convert into high quality proteins.
NextGenProteins specific objectives for microalgae, insect and single cell proteins
- Assess food and feed regulatory and safety landscape, identify main barriers for production and application of the three alternative proteins and contribute to future EU policy.
- Deliver three high-quality, safe, nutritious and sustainable protein sources through bioconversion processes, utilising existing industrial waste streams currently discarded or disposed as landfill.
- Demonstrate food application potentials of the three alternative proteins through concept and practical trials in ready meals, bakery products, imitation meat and functional food supplements.
- Demonstrate animal feed application potentials of the three alternative proteins through research and practical trials in poultry and fish feed.
- Explore and facilitate market opportunities for the three alternative proteins and derived products, in co-creation with consumer and stakeholder focus-groups, and promote high consumer trust and acceptability.
- Analyse and verify sustainability advantages of the three alternative protein production processes in terms of environmental and economic impacts, enabling improvements of production efficiency, GHG emissions, value chain risks, land-, water-, and energy use.
- Develop and apply an innovative Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) framework, that brings together researchers, policy makers, businesses and other societal actors to facilitate consumer acceptance, effectively disseminate project results and ensure their exploitation.