Photo: Danish Agriculture & Food Council

Photo: Danish Agriculture & Food Council

Domestic protein alternatives

Danish scientists are investigating alternatives to imported soya in a range of research projects. Two of these projects are particularly interesting.

In the last edition of the newsletter, we reported that Denmark is hoping to become less reliant on soya imports by increasing cultivation of domestic protein crops. We are now presenting two interesting Danish research projects on soya alternatives. The first commercial plant to produce protein from green field crops such as grass, clover and lucerne grass has opened its doors in Gut Ausumgaard not far from the village of Struer in West Jutland. Danish agriculture company Vestjyllands Andel aims to use the sustainably-produced grass protein in its animal feed mixes.

Read also: On the trail of protein alternatives

In future, this protein from green field crops could be used for the nutrition not only of ruminants but also of monogastrics such as pigs and poultry. The new grass protein plant is part of the Green Development and Demonstration Programme, GUDP, in line with the development project called TailorGrass sponsored by the Danish Food and Environment Ministry. The research project started in 2020 and is due to run until 2023.

Read also: The taste of sustainable pork

Micro-algae has potential too
Danish experts believe that in future, imported soya protein could be replaced as a primary protein source by protein not only from grass, but also from algae. The ReMAPP project is looking into the potential of cultivated micro-algae. The abbreviation stands for Resource-Efficient Microalgae Protein Production. In the tests, the algae is generated by adding CO2 and nutrients from side streams from biogas plants.

The aim is to produce algae which requires up to ten times less space than feed produced in conventional ways. “We have been looking into micro-algae for years, as they allow very high growth rates in areas which cannot be used for other agricultural purposes. Our algae cultures form a robust mix which is adapted to the Danish climate and allows long growth phases,” explains project and centre leader Jesper Mazanti Aaslyng of the Danish Technological Institute (DTI). The first test systems for the ReMAPP project have started operating at the DTI headquarters in Taastrup to the west of Copenhagen.

Read also: Danish algae could be the future’s sustainable feed protein