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Anaerobic fermentation process using human gut microfauna

By Scott Jenkins |

Industrial-scale production of protein-rich food additives based on anaerobic fermentation is slated to begin later this year at a former bioethanol site in Minnesota. The facility will use a fermentation process developed by White Dog Labs (WDL; Newark, Del.; www.whitedoglabs.com) that involves microbial species found in the human gut microbiome. The company employs a set of bacterial screening approaches designed to select not only for the production of specific metabolites, but also simultaneously for cell composition — specifically for high protein concentration. The anaerobic fermentation of sugars at the Minnesota site will be operated to produce protein-rich biomass that will be used as additives for human food and animal feed. Variations of the process can also produce metabolites (such as vitamins and short-chain fatty acids like butyrate and acetate) from sugars, and can be set up for gas fermentation. “Current fermentation processes harvest metabolites generated by microbes, but we are also simultaneously maximizing the value of the biomass,” says Bryan Tracy, CEO of WDL. This is done by focusing on microbes capable of producing high levels of protein and then using the microbes themselves as a protein source with…
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