Can microbes compete with cows for sustainable protein production - A feasibility study on high quality protein

Mike Vestergaard, Siu Hung Joshua Chan, Peter Ruhdal Jensen

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Abstract

An increasing population and their increased demand for high-protein diets will require dramatic changes in the food industry, as limited resources and environmental issues will make animal derived foods and proteins, gradually more unsustainable to produce. To explore alternatives to animal derived proteins, an economic model was built around the genome-scale metabolic network of E. coli to study the feasibility of recombinant protein production as a food source. Using a novel model, we predicted which microbial production strategies are optimal for economic return, by capturing the tradeoff between the market prices of substrates, product output and the efficiency of microbial production. A case study with the food protein, Bovine Alpha Lactalbumin was made to evaluate the upstream economic feasibilities. Simulations with different substrate profiles at maximum productivity were used to explore the feasibility of recombinant Bovine Alpha Lactalbumin production coupled with market prices of utilized materials. We found that recombinant protein production could be a feasible food source and an alternative to traditional sources.
Original languageEnglish
Article number36421
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
Number of pages8
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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