Microbial protein production by autotrophic nitrogen-fixing hydrogen-oxidizing bacteria

Abstract of the doctoral research of Xioana Hu:

Food production will need to be increased in response to the growing world population and rising demand for high grade protein per capita. Due to the inefficient use of energy-intensive nitrogen fertilizers in contemporary agriculture and main nitrogen losses as manure during plant-livestock conversion, further expansion of traditional agricultural practices will exacerbate its environmental damage. Therefore, the interest in microbial protein produced by hydrogen-oxidizing bacteria has been renewed due to its potential to be integrated into food chain. However, the high demand of nitrogen fertilizers derived from the Haber-Bosch process remains environmentally stressful.
This thesis explored the potential of using autotrophic nitrogen-fixing hydrogen-oxidizing bacteria to produce microbial protein as an alternative to protein source from food and feed. An enriched microbial community was used to demonstrate the protein quality and yield of the proposed process. Then pure cultures were obtained from the community to study its microbial ecology. The possible roles and interactions of diverse isolates in the community were studied using genome comparison and synthetic communities.
The proposed process could produce high-quality protein with an energy conversion efficiency higher than that of soybean. Understanding of the microbial ecology of the enriched community will contribute to the microbial resource management for more efficient biomass production.

Dissertation Supervisors:

 Prof. Dr. Ir. Nico Boon and, Dr. ir. Peter Clauwaert

Event location: 
Virtual Event
Event date: 
Monday, 12 October, 2020 - 16:00
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