Microbial protein are commonly called single cell protein (SCP) referring to the fact that most of the microorganism used as protein producers are single cells or filamentous individual. SCP is a generic name which refers to dry cells or protein concentrates from microorganism obtained by growing in large amount in variety of abundant and inexpensive culture media and used as protein supplement for human and animal. SCP should not be confused with biomass (ex; mushroom) and microbial biomass. SCP can be produced using different species of bacteria, yeast or fungi.
Fungi used in SCP production: Paecilomyces variotii, Chaetomium cellulolyticum
Yeast used in SCP production: Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomyces fragilis, Candida utilis, Candida lipolytica
Reasons behind SCP production:
1. Acute shortage of protein in food and feed
2. Possibility of microbiological exploitation of Non- renewable resources
3. Possibility of production of protein from organic waste
Advantage of SCP
1. Rapid succession of generation of microorganism
2. High protein content (43 – 85 %) dry basis
3. Ecologically friendly production
4. Wide range of substrate can be used
5. Production can be carried out throughout the year
6. Consistent quality
7. Little land requirement
8. More easily modified
Limitations of SCP:
1. Nucleic acid content of biomass is very high
2. Presence of carcinogenic and other toxic substances in case of faulty processing
3. Possibility of contamination from pathogenic microorganism
4. Digestion of microorganism is rather slow and may cause allergic reaction
5. Psychological and social barrier to use microorganism as food source In different parts of the world.
Book: Waites, M. J., Morgan, N. L., Rockey, J. S., & Higton, G. (2009). Industrial microbiology: an introduction. John Wiley & Sons.