Can methane-rich biogas be converted into raw materials for animal feed? VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland found a way to do so on the farm.
The new insights are based on the ability of methanotrophic bacteria to grow in aerobic conditions in gas fermenters, using methane as the source for carbon and energy. This will create a single-cell protein biomass with a protein content of around 60%. The cell mass is filtered, pasteurised and dried.
Although the production rate of VTT’s method needs to be improved and the protein fraction’s suitability as a feed component needs to be tested, it holds promise for use in livestock diets.
Based on previous studies, single-cell proteins produced using micro-organisms can be substituted for ingredients such as meat, soya, egg whites or fish in food and feed. The production of single-cell proteins therefore represents a good opportunity to improve our protein self-sufficiency.
Next to feed, the methanotrophic bacteria and (depending on the growth conditions) cell mass may also contain polyhydroxybutyrate plastic (PHB) – a natural substance in the cells that enables them to store conserve energy. For example, PHB can be used as a raw material for biodegradable packaging material, instead of oil-based and non-biodegradable plastics such as polypropylene (PP).