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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Lactic acid fermentation for enrichment of microalgae biomass with new nutrients

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.00  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production   

Code Science Field
T490  Technological sciences  Biotechnology 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
Keywords
microalgae; lactic acid fermentation; novel food; bioactive compounds
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (19)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  16039  PhD Maja Berden Zrimec  Metrology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  260 
2.  39094  PhD Blaž Ferjančič  Animal production  Researcher  2021 - 2023  31 
3.  12315  PhD Ester Heath  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2019 - 2023  596 
4.  10337  PhD Alojz Ihan  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  1,441 
5.  18511  PhD Polona Jamnik  Biotechnology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  903 
6.  11548  PhD Barbka Jeršek  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2023  418 
7.  25991  PhD Andreja Nataša Kopitar  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  188 
8.  23075  PhD Mojca Korošec  Animal production  Researcher  2019 - 2023  451 
9.  54964  Nik Mahnič  Plant production  Researcher  2021 - 2023  18 
10.  50502  PhD Jasmina Masten Rutar  Control and care of the environment  Junior researcher  2019 - 2023  28 
11.  11279  PhD Nives Ogrinc  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2019 - 2023  1,132 
12.  29336  PhD Ilja Gasan Osojnik Črnivec  Chemistry  Researcher  2019 - 2023  235 
13.  15650  PhD Lea Pogačnik  Chemistry  Researcher  2019 - 2023  289 
14.  55591  Katka Pohar    Technical associate  2022 - 2023  18 
15.  10873  PhD Nataša Poklar Ulrih  Chemistry  Head  2019 - 2023  827 
16.  38496  PhD Doris Potočnik  Chemistry  Researcher  2019 - 2023  188 
17.  05382  PhD Saša Simčič  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  149 
18.  15466  PhD Mihaela Skrt  Biotechnology  Researcher  2019 - 2023  158 
19.  29475  PhD Sanja Stopinšek  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2019 - 2022  42 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  90,028 
2.  0381  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine  Ljubljana  1627066  47,522 
3.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,575 
4.  3416  AlgEn, algal technology centre, limited liability company  Ljubljana  3711510000  297 
Abstract
Microalgae represent a good source of nutrients and bioactive compounds and thus can contribute to human health. In the Slovenian market microalgae are currently found in the form of tablets, capsules and liquids for use as dietary supplements. The efficacies and origins of such dietary supplements are generally unknown, because they are not under strict regulation as medicines or food. Thus, regular monitoring of such products that are available on the market is of great importance. The compositions and nutritional values of microalgae depend heavily on geographic area and season. In the framework of the project we will define control parameters and standard methods for their determination. Thus, advanced analytical techniques will be used to ensure quality, safety and traceability of dietary supplements based on Spirulina and Chlorella and available on the market. On other hand, establishment of large-scale cultivation technologies will enable that Spirulina and Chlorella will be produced under controlled and optimised conditions. This will led to controlled quality of products, which can still be improved with further processing. Lactic acid fermentation can be used to improve nutritional properties, as well as the functional value of the substrates and to enhance their shelf life, safety and sensory characteristics. It can enhance the efficiency of original bioactive compounds via their release or transformation by lactic acid bacteria, and can enrich the substrate with their metabolites (e.g., polysaccharides, biaoctive peptides, vitamin B12, short-chain fatty acids). This can thus improve the functional value of such subtrates. As Spirulina and Chlorella contain many functional bioactive costituents (e.g., long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, phenolic compounds, sterols, proteins, amino acids, peptides, vitamins A, C, E, K, polysaccharides, pigments) with different activities, lactic acid fermentation will be used to prepare food products based on microalgae that have better nutritional and functional characteristics compared to the original biomass. To test this hypotesis, chemical, biochemical and microbiological characterisation before and after fermentation as well as bioactivity assays using molecular, cell and animal models to define the physiological effects will be performed.  Although some studies have dealt with lactic acid fermentation of microalgae, there have been no reports to date on the evaluation of the impact of lactic acid fermentation on the composition of the nutrients and bioactive compounds of microalgae biomass, nor on their microbiological stability and bioactivity in the context of novel functional food products. As well as Spirulina and Chlorella, which are the most studied among the microalgae in terms of their nutritional and functional properties, there are other microalgae that populate different environmental niches that can biosynthesise a great diversity of metabolites. Thus many of these have potential applications in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Thus, extreme environmental niches in Slovenia like salt pans, healing springs and underground caves will be explored. They might represent interesting places in the search for microalgae that contain new metabolites and thus represent candidates for novel food constituents. With the exception of Karst caves, such extreme habitats in Slovenia have not been explored. In summary, the proposed project will be focused on (1) microalgae Spirulina and Chlorella from dietary supplements available on the Slovenian market with unknown origin and efficiency, (2) those arising from large-scale cultivation systems with known origin and controlled quality, which can still be improved using biotechnological approach and thus obtained functional food and (3) microalgae from extreme habitats in Slovenia as potential candidates for novel food constituents as well as other biotechnologically interesting products.
Significance for science
In the framework of the proposed project, we will perform basic scientific studies on the lactic acid fermentation of microalgae Spirulina and Chlorella as two the most widespread and commercially available microalgae. The fermented product of microalgae with the new identified metabolites will be characterized in the context of quality and microbiological safety as well as bioactivity, on molecular, cell and animal model to determine pharmacological potential for developing the novel functional food. The selection of appropriate The Slovenian market with food supplements containing Spirulina and Chlorella will be for the first time investigated for their origin and quality. The main scientific contribution will be design the new encapsulation systems for stabilization, target delivery and control release of the bioactive compounds from microalgae. The significant impact on the scientific field of biodiversity of microalgae will have the taxonomic description of microalgae populated the extremophilic habitats in Slovenia. We expect to present our results at different conferences and to publish them in high-ranking journals from the field. The use of lower organisms can be a big step in increasing the efficiency of food production and may help in reducing the total amount of waste created in urban environments. Further, the composition of these organisms may be attractive from a nutritional perspective, since Spirulina and Chlorella have an excellent protein composition and other important nutrients and bioactive components. With a clear focus on health and safety, the project will help to contribute to formulate new food solutions ensuring that consumers have access to a balanced diet. Looking into the future, the project can influence and offer unique opportunities to increase competitiveness and build a more trusted and secure food supply and thus will have an economic impact. The involvement of Algen that has begun farming microalgae will provide an opportunity to transfer knowledge from Academia to Industry. Thus, the project has the ability to combine high standards with diverse and interesting food products that can make Slovenian as well as the European food sector competitive and its products desirable globally. The project involves well establish researchers in the field of natural sciences, biotechnology and medicine giving multidisciplinary and inter-institutional approach. Together, all the participating groups have the knowledge, long-term experience and equipment, guaranteeing a successful conduction of the project and high quality of their results. In addition, all participants actively participate in the pedagogic and tutorial processes at universities in Slovenia and abroad. The involvement of young researchers will provide a unique opportunity for collaboration, training, transfer of research results into practice and provide a sound basis for career development.
Significance for the country
In the framework of the proposed project, we will perform basic scientific studies on the lactic acid fermentation of microalgae Spirulina and Chlorella as two the most widespread and commercially available microalgae. The fermented product of microalgae with the new identified metabolites will be characterized in the context of quality and microbiological safety as well as bioactivity, on molecular, cell and animal model to determine pharmacological potential for developing the novel functional food. The selection of appropriate The Slovenian market with food supplements containing Spirulina and Chlorella will be for the first time investigated for their origin and quality. The main scientific contribution will be design the new encapsulation systems for stabilization, target delivery and control release of the bioactive compounds from microalgae. The significant impact on the scientific field of biodiversity of microalgae will have the taxonomic description of microalgae populated the extremophilic habitats in Slovenia. We expect to present our results at different conferences and to publish them in high-ranking journals from the field. The use of lower organisms can be a big step in increasing the efficiency of food production and may help in reducing the total amount of waste created in urban environments. Further, the composition of these organisms may be attractive from a nutritional perspective, since Spirulina and Chlorella have an excellent protein composition and other important nutrients and bioactive components. With a clear focus on health and safety, the project will help to contribute to formulate new food solutions ensuring that consumers have access to a balanced diet. Looking into the future, the project can influence and offer unique opportunities to increase competitiveness and build a more trusted and secure food supply and thus will have an economic impact. The involvement of Algen that has begun farming microalgae will provide an opportunity to transfer knowledge from Academia to Industry. Thus, the project has the ability to combine high standards with diverse and interesting food products that can make Slovenian as well as the European food sector competitive and its products desirable globally. The project involves well establish researchers in the field of natural sciences, biotechnology and medicine giving multidisciplinary and inter-institutional approach. Together, all the participating groups have the knowledge, long-term experience and equipment, guaranteeing a successful conduction of the project and high quality of their results. In addition, all participants actively participate in the pedagogic and tutorial processes at universities in Slovenia and abroad. The involvement of young researchers will provide a unique opportunity for collaboration, training, transfer of research results into practice and provide a sound basis for career development.
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