Objective: to establish a bioprocess of syntrophic co-cultivation of two microorganisms
(Crypthecodinium cohnii and Zymomonas mobilis) at laboratory prototype level for
bioconversion of renewables (molasses, the byproduct of sugar industry, and glycerol,
byproduct of biodiesel production) into valuable vegetarian (produced by microorganisms)
docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from omega 3 fatty acid family.
Summary: Knowledge-based bioeconomy implies conversion of cheap renewable resources
into biotechnological products with added value. Current project aims at production of a highly
valuable infant food and vegetarian food additive and a healthy food supplement omega 3
fatty acid from industrial byproducts - molasses and glycerol. Molasses is a byproduct of sugar
industry, while raw glycerol is byproduct of biodiesel production. Both are industries with
massive and constantly increasing turnover. The target product of the proposed bioprocess
is one of the omega 3 fatty acid family – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
DHA is essential for health of infants and adults. Its market growth is about 10% annually
and is expected to reach 240 thousand metric tons in 2020. 96% of DHA currently is produced
from fish. Although the quality of microbiologically produced DHA is higher (without specific
odor or taste, especially important for infant food), it is more expensive so far. The growing
market and high costs of DHA requires new solutions, addressed by this project: design of
advanced, high-yielding microbial bioproceses, based on cheap renewable substrates, instead
of extracting DHA from a limited resource – marine fish oil.
The project will deliver a laboratory prototype (TRL4) of DHA production, including newly
developed co-cultivation bioreactor, and a model-based control system of production.