InnoProtein steps up the lack of local sustainable protein in the European market, by developing new products for food and feed. By tapping into novel protein sources like microalgae, fungi, bacteria, and insects, the project provides driving solutions that shrink the “EU’s protein gap” and ensure future food security.

Methylotrophic bacteria, a particular type of microorganisms, with a high capacity of adaptation to tough environments, will be used to produce top quality protein, given their metabolism, the whole process will be zero emissions and fed only with renewable resources. The production target is set to obtain a matrix with a high protein content. The proteins will be extracted from the biomass, through innovative techniques such as ultrasounds, organic solvents, and high-performance lab equipment. Thereafter, all extracts will be purified to obtain the final protein powder compliant with end-users’ needs.

Microalgae are an extremely diverse group of microscopic organisms. They perform photosynthesis and “like higher land plants” they renew and purify the atmospheric air. Biotechnologically, they are a diverse and natural source of biomass and high-value nutritious compounds such as carotenoids, pigments, polyunsaturated fats, proteins, and essential amino acids. The capacity of a microalga to produce multiple and particular high-value compounds in different controlled conditions makes them the perfect source for novel food. To obtain a protein powder capable of being incorporated into food/feed formulas, new technologies like ultrasounds, organic solvents, and high-performance laboratory equipment will be used. These technologies are necessary in the purification stage of the protein extract as they boost the protein extraction yield.

Fungi are an excellent source of vegetable protein because they contain all the essential amino acids that the body needs, therefore constitute a dedicated novel protein source for human and animal nutrition. In the Innoprotein project, several fungi strains will be screened for their potential application for protein production. Cereals and agri-food waste provided by Sueros y Derivados will be used as a nutritious substrate for fungal cultures to optimize the protein production process. Later, the investigation of optimized growth conditions for the selected fungi for protein production will be carried out. Different parameters will be analyzed to maximize protein formation during fermentation.

Even if insects are a common ingredient for food in some parts of the world, Europeans remain skeptical of entomophagy. Nonetheless, in recent years, insect-based products have entered the European market. Considering their rapid reproduction and the protein extraction rate, insects emerge as an immediate answer to obtain high-quality protein and at the same time, reduce environmental and production costs. Thus, the InnoProtein project will employ non-invasive techniques to extract valuable protein. Thanks to these techniques, the whole biomass will be used to obtain proteins for new types of healthy foods and feeds.

With consumer panels and in compliance with food standards. The expected result is to deliver tasty and nutritious options for drinks like shakes and smoothies as well as for condiments like sauces and creams. Whereas for livestock, the project is expected to develop 3 feed formulas, one for each of the major industries: poultry, swine, and trout.

Zero waste approach (Bioplastics and Biostimulants)

InnoProtein adopt a zero-waste approach, that means the recovery of value-added compounds from residual biomass. The InnoProtein consortium will deliver the following products: Biofuels: By boling the biomass in the presence of supercritical water (water at a high temperature and pressure), clean energy sources like hydrogen and metane can be obtained.

Bioplastics: High-value polymers, wil be created by tearing the structure of non-edible proteins while mixing them with a plastizier agent, that,if mixed in different proportions, may confer flexible material.
Bio-stimulants: To reduce the need of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, crop-boosting formulas will be produced taking the necessary nutrients from the streams´discards. Subsquently the formulas´ potence will be tested in both a controlled (scaled) space and on a greenhouse.