Producing nutritional protein with Dunaliella microalgae: Technological and economic optimization

Date: 16 October 2019

Venue: Stadscampus, Hof van Liere, F. de Tassiszaal - Prinsstraat 13 - 2000 Antwerpen (route: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus)

Time: 3:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: Department of Bioscience Engineering

PhD candidate: Yixing Sui

Principal investigator: Silvia Lenaerts & Siegfried Vlaeminck

Short description: PhD defence Yixing Sui - Faculty of Science, Department of Bioscience Engineering


In this thesis, microalga Dunaliella salina is highlighted as a novel source of protein to sustain the human needs. As demonstrated in this thesis, the biochemical composition of D. salina is not fixed, and can be substantially influenced by internal and external conditions. In order to comply with the human requirement of protein, various important factors affecting the protein quantity and quality of D. salina have been evaluated in this thesis for an optimized production strategy. All tested parameters, namely salinity, pH, light regimes (continuous light and light/dark cycle), light intensity, nutrient levels and growth phases can contribute to significant variations of protein content and essential amino acid (EAA) level in D. salina. Ultimately, D. salina is capable of producing high amount of superior quality protein, complying with the FAO reference for human consumption. Even better, such protein of superior quality can be accompanied by unique β-carotene accumulation in D. salina, a pigment with anti-oxidant pro-vitamin A effect. In the end, according to the techno-economic analysis (TEA), it is economically feasible to produce D. salina biomass for human nutrition.