Purple bacteria as microbial protein source: Technology development, community control, economic optimization and biomass valorization

Date: 5 December 2019

Venue: Stadscampus, Frederik de Tassiszaal (Hof Van Liere) - Prinsstraat 13 - 2000 Antwerpen

Time: 5:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: Department of Bioscience Engineering

PhD candidate: Abbas Alloul

Principal investigator: Siegfried Vlaeminck & Gilbert Van Stappen

Short description: PhD defence Abbas Alloul - Faculty of Science, Department of Bioscience Engineering


Food production is a cornerstone in contemporary industrial societies. Its production requires land, water and enormous amounts of fertilizers. These precious fertilizers enter the linear food chain and suffer from a cascade of inefficiencies, resulting in detrimental effects to the environment. A radical transforming of the current food production chain is, therefore, essential to guarantee a sustainable future for humanity.

This thesis has studied the production of microbial protein (i.e. single-cell protein), which is the use of microorganisms such as yeast, fungi, algae and bacteria as protein ingredient for animal feed. The type of microorganisms targeted in this thesis were purple non-sulfur bacteria (PNSB). These bacteria are an extremely heterogenic group that contain photosynthetic pigments and are able to perform anoxygenic photosynthesis. The core focus of the thesis was technology development for the production of PNSB as a source of microbial protein on wastewater and fresh fertilizers. In the final stage of this research, it was the objective to explore the potential of PNSB as a nutritious feed ingredient for shrimp.

Overall, this work has provided the building blocks to transform the conventional food production chain. The findings show that PNSB production and biomass valorization is within reach. Further pilot implementation and cost reduction will facilitate the introduction of PNSB production in future’s wastewater treatment plants and the valorization of the biomass as nutritious animal feed ingredient.

Link: http://www.uantwerpen.be/science