MSc in Biotechnology
Aalborg University (AAU)
Valorization of microbial protein by proteomics and bioinformatics-assisted targeted hydrolysis
As part of the green transition and a more sustainable food sector, the search for alternative protein sources is rapidly developing. A potential solution to accelerate the transition is the use of microbial biomasses. Unibio produces feed protein by fermentation of methane metabolising bacteria, thereby decoupling protein production from farming and fishing to obtain a more sustainable protein source. The biomass was recently shown to contain abundant proteins in which part of their sequence (i.e., embedded peptides), shows great promise as functional and bioactive food ingredients. In this project, the goal is to transform the feed-grade protein product into a food-grade functional ingredient using enzymatic hydrolysis. Using proteomics and bioinformatic big data analysis, the project will develop a targeted approach for the release of these peptides and downstream enrichment for improved functionality. The processes will be upscaled in collaboration with Helix Lab and ultimately implemented in Unibio's Kalundborg Demonstration Plant.
What was your motivation for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow?
I was an intern at a different company (MipSalus) in my bachelor's and I found the opportunity to learn outside of the University very exciting. So, the possibility to do it again in my master’s was very pleasing, why it was a must for me to apply for the position as Helix Lab Fellow. The opportunity to get a larger network in the main biotech city in Denmark, while developing my own skills was also a great motivator.
What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?
Getting to see both the academic and industrial side of Kalundborg and Unibio. Our industrial supervisor has been very good in involving us in Unibio and its facilities. As the lab is quite new and some things are still missing due to delivering times, it has been quite nice to use our engineering skills and find workarounds. As Jesper also said, the possibility to make inputs in the required equipment is also nice.
What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?
As one of my motivators for becoming a Helix Lab Fellow was to increase my network in Kalundborg, I see myself using this to hopefully land a job in Kalundborg – would be lovely to continue this project at Unibio if they would allow it. Another great thing, I am learning as a Helix Lab Fellow is to involve both the industry and academia to solve problems – thus getting insight into how both work and which difficulties/workarounds can be used in each section of work. Lastly, it has confirmed my interest in the biotech world, as you get to see the industry up close instead of “just working in a university lab”, which often doesn’t mimic all the responsibilities you get working in the industry.