Protéines fonctionalisées circulaires

The possibility of using leaf biomass as a raw material for food protein production is investigated. This goal is approached either through extracting proteins, or through upcycling the plant-based N to a target food protein.



We are on the cusp of a disruption in food production, i.e., a protein disruption. Animal proteins will to a large extent likely be replaced in the near future by plant-based proteins or in the long-term by proteins produced through precision fermentation (PF). These proteins will hopefully not only be superior in many key nutritional attributes, but primarily be more environmentally friendly due to higher efficiencies (no efficiency loss in the animal). PF – also known as fermentation 4.0 - combines modern information technologies with modern biotechnologies like genetic engineering or synthetic biology, to produce a complex target protein in bioreactors, which are used as food or food ingredient. With that, there will be an increase in demand for alternative crops used either as ingredients for the plant-based food sector or as feedstock for PF (i.e., C and N). In this project, only sugar beet leaves as a representative leaf biomass will be employed. The direct use of leaf protein as food ingredient will be investigated by extracting proteins from the leaves and analyzing them for their usefulness as food. Besides, leaf biomass can potentially also serve as a nutrient source for precision fermentation. A fermentative organism is used to upcycle plant-based carbon and nitrogen to a target protein.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • 13: Climate action