Published on 25 Apr 2024

Study successfully replaces fishmeal with microbial protein cultivated from soybean processing wastewater

Image: Members of the NTU-TP research team include (back row, L-R):  NTU Professor Stefan Wuertz, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Deputy Centre Director, SCELSE; Dr Loo Poh Leong, Research fellow, SCELSE;  Dr Ezequiel Santillan, Senior research fellow, SCELSE, (front row, L-R) Dr Woo Yissue, Research fellow, SCELSE; Dr Diana Chan, Head, AIC at Temasek Polytechnic.

Scientists from NTU and Temasek Polytechnic have successfully replaced half of the fishmeal protein in the diets of farmed Asian seabass with a ‘single cell protein’ cultivated from microbes in soybean processing wastewater, paving the way for more sustainable fish farming practices.

The use of a cultivated protein is new to aquaculture production, say the scientists from the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE) leading NTU’s efforts in the study, and Temasek Polytechnic’s Aquaculture Innovation Centre (AIC).

Farmed aquaculture species rely heavily on feed made from wild-caught fish, known as fishmeal, which is not sustainable and contributes to overfishing of the seas.

Single cell protein, a sustainable alternative, can be cultivated from food processing wastewater. In particular, the wastewater from soybean processing contains organisms with probiotic potential that are essential for healthy fish growth.

Wastewaters from the food-processing industry are free of pathogens and other contaminants, make them suitable for growing microbes. Normally after processing the wastewater is discharged and flows into a wastewater reclamation plant. Its nutrients are not recovered, resulting in a lost opportunity to maximise resource use.

Related media releases

Media coverage