Single Cell Protein (SCP):


SCPs are the form of proteins extracted from unicellular organisms hence the name single-cell proteins. As the world is bombarding with the food crisis, SCPs are one of the most affordable and easy methods of producing quality proteins. From the last 3 decades, the population is increased but the production of food is declining resulting in a global crisis. Children in some of the nations are still suffering from malnutrition because they purely rely on the traditional plant and animal proteins. Many of the protein sources lack quality, and also they take a very long time for their synthesis. 

Table Of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Importance and Sources of  SCPs

3. Advantages of SCP

4. Disadvantages of Single-Cell Protein


Importance and Sources of  SCPs

Experiments have proved that a cow weighing 250 kg can produce 200 g of proteins in a day; least amount while comparing the proportion of protein production to its body weight. On the contrary, microbes such as  Methylophilus methylotrophs can proportionately yield more protein than that of a cow. This is because microorganisms have high biomass compared to other organisms. We can produce about 25 tons of protein out of the day to day wastes we collect. Single-cell proteins (SCP) refers to the edible unicellular microorganisms in which the biomass obtained is used as an alternative source to protein-rich foods like animal proteins. SCPs can be prepared out of the mixed cultures of algae, fungi, yeasts, and bacteria that are palatable and suitable for human consumption. As a scientific logic, it takes around 3-10 kg of grain that equals 1 kg of meat production by an animal, but in either case, expenses are high. As an alternative source of proteins, single-cell protein (SCP) is effective.  Scientists are making every effort to produce microbial biomass using low-cost substrates and microbes like Spirulina. Spirulina is used in many energy drinks and they can be grown on wastewater, straw, molasses, animal manure as well as sewage. Doing this will help to produce the food rich in all the nutrients hence the name biomass. In most cases, SCP has to be subjected to remove the excess of nucleic acids then it is said to be safe although it has high-quality protein and low fats. Both high quality of protein and a low quantity of fats constitute good human food. Some of the most common microbes used as SCP producers are Cyanobacteria – Spirulina, bacteria – Methylophilus methylotrophs, yeasts – Candida utilize and filamentous fungi – Fusarium gramiearum.


Advantages of SCP

  1. It is very rich in high-quality protein and has considerably less fat content.

  2. It helps the food industry by reducing pressure on agricultural production systems.

  3. Since SCP production uses industrial wastes a raw material, it can minimize the environmental pollution.

  4. SCP can be produced in laboratories throughout the year as I doesn’t need seasons or external environment.


Disadvantages of Single-Cell Protein

  1. The presence of high nucleic acids content results in the excessive production of uric acid.

  2. In some cases, the excessive consumption of SCPs may result in kidney stones and gout ( joint disorder).

  3. Some of the secondary toxic metabolites produced by SCPs can cause Hypersensitivity and other skin reactions.

  4. The investment for high-quality SCPs is high because sophisticated machinery is required for SCPs.

  5. SCPs have high nucleic acid content in their biomass makes it difficult for consumption as it may lead to gastrointestinal problems.

  6. The biomass sometimes cause an allergic reaction if the digestive system recognizes it as a foreign product.






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