The human population is growing and, globally, we must meet the challenge of increased protein needs required to feed this population. Single cell proteins (SCP), when coupled to aquaculture production, offer a means to ensure future protein needs can be met without direct competition with food for people. To demonstrate a given type of SCP has potential as a protein source for use in aquaculture feed, a number of steps need to be validated including demonstrating that the SCP is accepted by the species in question, leads to equivalent survival and growth, does not result in illness or other maladies, is palatable to the consumer, is cost effective to produce and can easily be incorporated into diets using existing technology. Here we examine white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei) growth and consumer taste preference, smallmouth grunt (Haemulon chrysargyreum) growth, survival, health and gut microbiota, and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) digestibility when fed diets that substitute the bacterium Methylobacterium extorquens at a level of 30% (grunts), 100% (shrimp), or 55% (salmon) of the fishmeal in a compound feed. In each of these tests, animals performed equivalently when fed diets containing M. extorquens as when fed a standard aquaculture diet. This transdisciplinary approach is a first validation of this bacterium as a potential SCP protein substitute in aquafeeds. Given the ease to produce this SCP through an aerobic fermentation process, the broad applicability for use in aquaculture indicates the promise of M. extorquens in leading toward greater food security in the future.
Tlusty, M., Rhyne, A., Szczebak, J., Bourque, B., Bowen, J., Burr, G., Marx, C., & Feinberg, L. (2017). A transdisciplinary approach to the initial validation of a single cell protein as an alternative protein source for use in aquafeeds. PeerJ, 2017 (4) https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3170