Environmental performance of novel food products – A case study about bacterial burgers

Linked Sessions:

Poster Number:  21 

Main Presenter:    Olivier Talon 

Co-Authors:   Manon Gilson     Guillaume Bayon-Vicente                                          

The PROTEBOOST project aims at producing alternative food products based on biomass from purple bacteria fed with agrifood industry co-products. The project involves technological research for all production steps, from biomass production to food product elaboration, but also an accompanying sustainability evaluation through LCA. The latter aims at identifying environmental hotspots and eco-designing the products and processes, and at evaluating the environmental performance of the new food products in comparison to the products that can be substituted. Purple bacteria were chosen for two main reasons. First, to ensure a coloration of the biomass (and therefore of the food product) that would make it appealing for the consumer. Besides, these bacteria are known to have the potential to produce a large amount of proteins [1] composed of amino acids suitable for human consumption (i.e. amino acid contents rich in branched chain amino acids) [2].
In this contribution, the example of purple bacteria biomass-based burgers is investigated, showing that early development stages already would enable such burgers to be environmentally competitive when compared to beef burgers, but that some process optimisation could be needed for achieving an environmental benefit when compared to vegetable-based burgers.
The system includes raw material production, bacterial biomass growth process, downstream process and food product production. The definition of the functional unit is discussed, with comparisons based on food mass but also on protein content.

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