In the coming decades, the global population will increase to 9 billion, and the livestock that we keep for our nutrition will rise, concomitantly. In the same time, the quality of the food that we consume, and the feed that we serve our livestock, will also improve by the use of quality ingredients such as plant-based edible oils.
The sourcing of these edible oils from such plants as palm is already under pressure because of its huge impact on the environment with respect to land and water use and replacement of natural vegetation and will no longer be sustainable in the near and more distant future. Within the proposed PPS project, the industrial partners Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, Aveve and BaseClear, together with DLO-FBR will address this problem by developing microbial platforms for the production of these edible oils. Two research lines will be followed; 1. The use of natural fat-producing microorganisms such as the yeast Cryptococcus curvatus, Yarrowia lipolytica, the fungus Mortirella or the microalgae for production of edible oils on cheap, and readily available waste- and side streams from the food industry ; and 2. The modification of yeast and microalgae to produce tailor-made fatty acids with desired length and saturation level. This project fully aligns with three Roadmaps of the Topsector AgriFood, to develop more advanced products (tailor-made fatty acids), to improve nutrition & health (plant-based unsaturated fatty acids) and stimulate Biobased Economy by sustainable production through microbial fermentation and growth of microalgae, as alternative for production of current edible oils.