Microalgae and seaweed proteins as alternative proteins

Opportunities for using algae as alternative proteins

Alternative proteins pave the way towards feeding India’s growing population without damaging the environment, and minimizing stress on depleting land and freshwater sources. While plant-based and cultivated proteins are emerging in India and around the globe, novel protein sources like algae, fungi and other microbes open up possibilities to utilise additional sustainable protein production systems and explore a range of protein functionalities for fermentation-derived meat, egg, and dairy products.

Why are Algal proteins important?

The Good Food Institute India’s mission to accelerate the alternative protein sector includes exploring diverse, sustainable protein sources in India and around the globe. This analysis on algal protein is the first in our protein sources strategic analysis series. The presence of already established companies producing food-grade microalgae and the potential to utilize India’s 8100 km long coastline for seaweed cultivation provides the foundation for the algal protein industry. But the industry in India is at a nascent stage. Our report ‘Technological Review of Algae-based Proteins’ is a result of a strategic assessment of the algal value chain from strain selection to protein extraction, with the aim to inform stakeholders in the Indian market about pivotal and potentially lucrative interventions required to develop the algal protein sector.

Methodology

A detailed analysis of the value chain for microalgae and seaweed was carried out through literature review. Technological development at each stage of value chain was evaluated and various technologies were compared based on qualitative and quantitative data available in scientific literature. The analysis was further validated by interviewing industry experts including academicians, entrepreneurs and companies working on algal technologies, both in India and outside India.Recommendations across domains including academic research, industry development, policy and investment for accelerating the development of the algae protein industry have been made based on gaps identified by literature review and challenges highlighted by industry experts. The results of this assessment are collated in the form of an ‘opportunities dashboard’.

The report, ‘Technological Review of Algae-based Proteins’, provides an in-depth analysis of the technological development at each step of the algal value chain, the regulatory landscape for algae-based food products in India, and the talent maturity in India for using creating algae-based alternative protein products.

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    The opportunities dashboard below is a compilation of relevant interventions corresponding to the challenges in the algal protein industry. The interventions have been classified based on the value chain category and technology domain with indication on extent of impact and ease of implementation.

    Reach out to us if you want to contribute to building the algal value chain and let us know what intervention you are most interested in or if you would like to know more about the space, write to us at scitech.india@gfi.org with the words “Algal Protein Value Chain” in the subject line.

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