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), show 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 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 always wanted to have a semester abroad in for instance Australia, and since Covid19 but that to a hold, this was a big opportunity to try something new. The fact the Helix Lab fellowship combines academia and industry is interesting, and it allows you to see the best of both worlds and how they really can support each other.
What is the most exciting part of being a Helix Lab Fellow?
It is quite exciting to balance the collaboration at the company with the work at Helix Lab. Otherwise the fact that it is a brand-new laboratory at Helix Lab also makes it interesting, as we can make input and have sayings in what equipment is relevant to have in a laboratory.
What perspectives do you see for your future after being a Helix Lab Fellow?
As we at Aalborg University make a one-year master thesis, you learn the interesting part of doing research, you conduct experiments that you yourself design and optimize, which gives a lot of freedom. These aspects make me interested in doing more research and doing a PhD. I have also found a big interest in the industry, so I am still torn between working in the industry and doing a PhD.