Carbon monoxide-based protein synthesis method developed in China 11-27-2021

The Feedstuff Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences announced on October 30 that China hashad a major breakthroughs in the field of one-carbon biosynthesis. With this breakthrough, for the first time in the world, the synthesis from carbon monoxide to protein has been realized, and an industrial production capacity of 10,000 tons is already possible in China.

This move breaks through the time and space constraints of natural protein plant synthesis and provides a national weapon for making up for the biggest shortcoming of China's agriculture: the excessive dependence on feed protein from foreign sources. At the same time, it is of great for meeting carbon dioxide emission goals.

According to Dr. Xie Min, a program scientist and researcher from the Feedstuff Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the natural synthesis of protein usually takes place in plants or specific microorganisms with a nitrogen-fixing function. Natural photosynthesis forms carbohydrate sugars, and then through multiple complex biological conversions and enzymatic reactions in the tricarboxylic acid cycle, the amino acids needed for protein synthesis are formed, and then they are synthesized into proteins. This synthesis process involves complex genetic expression, biochemical synthesis, physiological regulation and other biological processes. Therefore, it is a slow process that is of low material and energy conversion efficiency, and the final accumulated protein content is also low.

Clostridium ethanolicum protein more environmentally friendly and with a smaller land footprint than soybeans

The Feedstuff Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Beijing Shoulang Biotechnology Co., Ltd have made a breakthrough in the core technology related to clostridium ethanolicum protein, greatly increased reaction speeds, and created industrial conditions for the next step of biosynthetic protein production. This new synthesis process uses industrial exhaust gas containing carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and ammonia as the main raw materials to produce clostridium ethanolicum protein, and the process coverts 85% percent of its raw material into protein, which is a world record.

The industrial production of 10 million tons of clostridium ethanolicum protein (with 83% protein content), it is equivalent to 28 million tons of imported soybeans (with 30% protein content). This new process has opened up a new way to produce high-quality feed protein from low-cost non-traditional animal and plant resources, which can reduce 250 million tons of carbon dioxide and save 1 billion mu of arable land (based on an average yield of 4500 kilograms of soybeans per hectare).

Clostridium ethanolicum protein is a new single-cell protein obtained from the fermentation of clostridium ethanolicum isolated from the intestines of rabbits, as well as CO and CO2 from the exhaust of from steel plants and power plants, and also ammonia as the main raw materials. The protein is synthesized through a process of liquid fermentation, centrifugation, and drying.

Clostridium ethanolicum protein a better quality feed additive than soybeans

Compared with traditional plant cultivation, clostridium ethanolicum is 700 thousand times more efficient for producing protein materials. Clostridium ethanolicum protein has a high nutritional value, with a protein content of more than 80%, a balanced amino acid structure, and easy digestion.

At the same time, this protein has excellent processing characteristics as a feed material, and it is rich in functional substances such as nucleotides, which is beneficial for feed quality. The research results show that this protein is of high quality and can be widely used.

A joint study by the Feedstuff Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Shougang Langze found that replacing 20% soybean meal with 10% clostridium ethanolicum protein feed greatly improved the growth performance and intestinal health of grass carp, and the nutritional effectiveness of the feed was excellent, indicating that the clostridium ethanolicum protein was highly effective. In animal feed, this protein has the same nutritional potency as fish meal, better than soybean meal.

For more information, please check our resources on China’s Food and Feed market.

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