Advantages of Producing Microbial Protein
Roth (1982) has described a number of advantages in the production of microbial protein, compared to protein problems of conventional crops used as food and feed. These include :
(i) Rapid succession of generations (algae, 2-6h; yeast, l-3h; bacteria, 0.5-2h);
(ii) Easily modifiable genetically (e.g. for composition of amino acids);
(iii) High protein content of 43-85 per cent in the dry mass;
(iv) Broad spectrum of original raw material used for the production, which also includes waste products;
(v) Production in continuous cultures, consistent quality not dependent on climate in determinable amount, low land requirements, ecologically beneficial. Other advantages are : (a) high solar energy conversion efficiency per unit area (net production in cultivated land-290 gC/m2/day, lakes and streams - 225 gC/m2/day ; estuaries - 810 gC/m2/day), (b) easy regulation of environmental factors e.g. physical, nutritional, etc. which maximize solar energy conversion efficiency and yield (c) cellular, molecular and genetic alterations and (d) algal culture in space, which is normally unused instead of competing for land (Vijayan, 1988).