SIMBA is an innovation action (IA) project, meaning the project’s actions consist of activities that directly aim to produce plans, arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products and processes. Within the consortium, we have industry and SME partners who are expected to be direct end users of these products and processes. For each e-newsletter we chat with one of our industry partners to get an industry perspective of the project and how they expect the outputs of the project will be applied. For this issue, we interviewed project partner Joana Laranjeira Silva from Allmicroalgae, to find out more about the organisation and their role in the project.
Tell us about Allmicroalgae
Allmicroalgae – Natural Products S. A. is the largest European producer of microalgae in closed systems. We produce microalgae through auto- and heterotrophy using industrial fermenters, tubular photobioreactors, open raceway ponds, and flat panels. In addition to industrial production, the company is equipped with versatile pilot and lab-scale equipment and relies on an enthusiastic and highly specialized staff.
Located in Leiria, Portugal, we are dedicated to microalgae production and innovation, providing solutions for human and animal nutrition, as well as for agricultural and other applications. Allmicroalgae is committed to reducing environmental impact by working towards sustainable industrial processes, and we aim to make our products accessible and readily available to those who wish to benefit from their properties.
What is your role in the SIMBA project?
Together with our colleagues at Necton, we are the Microalgae producing partners within SIMBA. Both companies are interested in characterizing the microbiome of industrial photobioreactors and making the most of these ecosystems. In particular, we have taken samples and identified microbiomes of both open and closed photobioreactors throughout cultivation stages and at different seasons. We are eager to develop novel heterotrophic routes and to drive co-cultivation of microalgae with other microorganisms. These microbiomes will be selected and fine-tuned, to enhance microalgae growth and bioactivities, working as boosters and adjuvants to develop future food solutions.
Why did you get involved in the project?
Allmicroalgae strives for novel ways to deliver new food products, and to increase the scientific knowledge of the team. Participating in SIMBA enables us to contribute to promoting awareness of microbiomes and their importance as part of food systems. In particular, we are keen to learn about the microbiome of Chlorella vulgaris and Nannochloropsis cultures to stimulate important bioactive compounds in food and feed products. Furthermore, we wish to demystify what is meant by “microbes” when consumers hear about them in the context of food products. We want to demonstrate how microbes can increase the nutritional value of food, such as by increasing vitamin B12 content, an important factor when developing protein-rich solutions for vegans.
Can you describe some of the key innovations that you think will result from your activities within the project?
Most importantly, SIMBA will highlight the vital importance and fundamental roles that microorganisms play in our daily lives, something which is often ignored.
Our main goal in SIMBA is to be able to produce a microalga in co-cultivation with a probiotic bacterial strain. This will enhance our R&D knowledge and help us to develop new, market-ready commodities, such as food products with improved vitamin B12 content.
Participating in SIMBA enables us to continue to thrive as a microalgae producing company, while adhering to the highest EU quality standards and developing cutting edge solutions backed by solid scientific evidence. We are proud to be part of a diverse team which has sustainability and benefit for consumers at its core.
SIMBA Project Partner Joana Laranjeira Silva
[Photo credits: Allmicroalgae]