Research project Microbial fermentation as a protein source in food and feed applications for Flemish companies


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Geert Van Royen

Geert Van Royen

Meat and other protein expert


General introduction

Valorizing the different (residual) streams from microbial fermentation processes into high-quality food ingredients or feed components is still an unknown territory for many companies. This project of ILVO and BBEU (Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant) will support companies in the agro-food sector in their first, essential innovation steps in this matter, namely experiments on a relatively small scale, with the accompanying analyses. The partners opt for a process of co-creation via the existing Living Labs within ILVO (and Flanders' FOOD).

Research approach

Two established pilot plants, the Food Pilot in Melle (a joint venture of ILVO and Flanders' FOOD) and the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (a spinoff of UGent), consult with each other to make the smartest investments in necessary pilot equipment. The equipment allows to perform experiments on a small and semi-industrial scale with the production, purification, characterization and further processing of nutrient streams through a microbial fermentation process. Two showcases are planned, including a sustainability analysis. One application involves a food product and one involves a feed application.


It is crucial to capitalize in Flanders on the rapidly evolving global trend of protein diversification through microbial fermentation. It is equally crucial to study the whole process of valorization, together with companies that can valorize each of the streams with expertise.