UNIVERSITI Putra Malaysia (UPM) and biotech start-up PNT Research are in partnership to explore the innovation of microalgae as plant-based functional ingredient.
PNT Research, which specialises in biotech R&D for use in consumer products, will work with the R&D team within UPM’s Bioprocessing and Biomanufacturing Research Centre to bring products made with microalgae to the market.
Developing an alternative source of nutrients like microalgae represents a significant step forward in the critical shift to an equitable and resilient functional ingredient system.
By 2050, the world will need to produce 70% more to feed a growing population of 10 billion people. It will need to meet a high nutritional standard while reducing impact on the environment.
UPM and PNT Research will expand the incorporation of microalgae, the Tetraselmis chuii strain in particular, into mainstream functional ingredient.
A green microalgae approved by European Union in accordance with Articles 4 and 6 of Regulation (EC) No 258/97, Tetraselmis chuii (TetraSOD) is a sustainable source of protein and bioactive compounds with a low environmental footprint. It possesses a number of additional beneficial nutrients including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
“There is much untapped potential in microalgae, which we are converting into an action blueprint. Our plan will be built on a foundation of science, with the best interest of academia, industry and consumers in mind, ” says PNT Research managing director Lee Bin Hao.
Prof Dr Arbakariya Ariff, Professor of Fermentation Technology and Bioprocess Engineering at the Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at UPM, said: “UPM is a beacon for collaboration between academia and industry partners, and we are committed to partner with PNT Research on this.”
“Microalgae has tremendous potential as functional ingredient for the future, but so are the challenges for successful and wide-ranging incorporation. Microalgae biomass can significantly impact functional ingredient structure, colour and flavour, ” said Dr Fadzlie Wong Faizal Wong, senior lecturer at UPM’s Department of Bioprocess Technology.