Nutritious single-cell protein made from electricity and carbon dioxide

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In Finland, using electricity and carbon dioxide, Lappeenranta University of Technology and VTT Technical Research Centre researchers created a batch of single-cell protein that can be further developed for use as food and animal feed.

“In the long term, protein created with electricity is meant to be used in cooking and products as it is. The mixture is very nutritious, with more than 50 per cent protein and 25 percent carbohydrates. The rest is fats and nucleic acids. The consistency of the final product can be modified by changing the organisms used in the production,” said Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, Principal Scientist at VTT.

The process of creating food from electricity can be nearly 10 times as energy efficient as photosynthesis. But, to be competitive, the process must become even more efficient. Currently, producing one gram of protein takes around two weeks, using laboratory equipment about as big as a coffee cup.