Despite their ability to create matter out of thin air, algae and cyanobacteria have long been neglected by the biotech industry. Recently, however, they have started to gain traction in new market niches.
A ground-breaking Swansea University project is using microalgae to explore how to reuse waste while increasing food production. Microalgae are microscopic photosynthetic cells found naturally in the oceans and lakes. But Swansea scientists are now using a more novel source of nourishment to grow them – unwanted nutrients from food waste. They are now about to embark on feed trials with colleagues in France to test their cultivated algae as an alternative to soya protein.
Growing consumer interest in plant-based meat and seafood analogs is leading to more innovation and investment in the alternative protein food sector. Entering into this arena is new company Legendary Vish, which is creating 3D-printed salmon fillets made from high value plant-based ingredients, including mushroom proteins and algae extracts.
Unilever and Algenuity have announced a partnership that will enable Unilever’s Food and Refreshment R&D team to leverage the biotech start-up’s unique algae processing technology and ingredients to bring food made with microalgae to the mass market.