You are on page 1of 2

Nutritional Biochemistry

Single cell protein (SCP)

 SCP refers to the dried microbial cells or total protein extracted


from pure microbial cell culture (monoculture – Algae, bacteria,
filamentous fungi, yeasts, etc…), which can be used as food
supplement to humans (Food Grade) or animals (Feed grade).
 The term SCP was coined by Prof.C.L.Wilson in 1966.
 This term is more appropriate as most of the microorganisms grow
as single or filamentous individuals.
 SCP contains high protein content (60 – 80% of dry cell weight),
fats, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, vitamins, and minerals. It is
also rich in essential amino acids such as Lys and Met.
 ADVANTAGES OF USING MICROORGANISMS FOR SCP
PRODUCTION
o Protein synthesis is much more rapid than higher living
systems.
o Microbes have short generation time.
o Easily modifiable genetically for determining the amino acid
composition.
o Microbes have high protein content (7.12g protein
Nitrogen/100g dry weight).
o Microbes can be grown on media containing cheap sources
of C and N.
o Easy regulation of environmental factors for efficient yield.

 For industrial purposes Hydrogen utilizing bacteria and Methanol


using bacteria are utilized.

SAFETY, ACCEPTABILITY, AND TOXICOLOGY OF SCP

 There are several limitations regarding the widespread use of SCP:


o The nucleic acid content of microbial biomass is very high.
This is highly hazardous, since humans have limited
capacity to degrade nucleic acids and results in the
development of kidney stones, and gout, if consumed in large
quantities.
o Possibility of contamination with pathological organisms in
SCP.
o Association of carcinogenic and other toxic substances with
SCP is often observed. The nature and production of these
compounds depends on raw materials and the type of
microorganism used.
o Digestion of microbial cells is rather slow, and is frequently
associated with indigestion and allergy reactions.
o Food grade production of SCP is more expensive than other
sources of proteins, as it depends on the raw materials. SCP
for human consumption is 10-12 times more expensive than
SCP for animal feed.