Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Advantages and Disadvantages of Single Cell Protein

Dry mass of yeast may contain 55% protein
Large scale SCP production has some advantages over the conventional food production, these advantages are :
  1. Microorganisms have a high rate of multiplication to hence rapid succession of generation (algae: 2-6hours, yeast: 1-3 hours, bacteria: 0.5-2 hours)
  2. They can be easily genetically modified for varying the amino acid composition.
  3. A very high protein content 43-85 % in the dry mass.
  4. They can utilize a broad spectrum of raw materials as carbon sources, which include even waste products. Thus they help in the removal of pollutants also.
  5. Strains with high yield and good composition can be selected or produce relatively easily.
  6. Microbial biomass production occurs in continuous cultures and the quality is consistent since the growth is independent of seasonal and climatic variations.
  7. Land requirements is low and is ecologically beneficial.
  8. It is not dependent on climate

Despite of the interesting benefits, there are some problems regarding the Single Cell Protein. As mentioned before, the main problem of SCP production is that this product may cost more than conventional food product. There are also some technical problems, such as:

  1. Many types of microorganisms produce some substances which are toxic to the
    ICI "Pruteen" Plant
    human and also to the animals. Therefore it has to be made sure that the produced microbial biomass does not contain any of these toxic substances.
  2. Sometimes the microbial biomass when taken as diet supplement may lead to indigestion or allergic reactions in humans.
  3. The high nucleic acid content of many types of microbial biomass products is also undesirable for human consumption as single cell protein. Sometimes this high level of nucleic acid content in microbial biomass will lead to kidney stone formation or gout.
  4. The high nucleic acid content of many types of microbial biomass may lead to poor digestibility, gastrointestinal problem and also some skin reactions in humans.
  5. The possibility of presence of toxins or carcinogenic compounds may lead to some serious health problems in humans as well as in animal stock.
  6. Single cell protein production is a very expensive procedure as it needs high level of sterility control in the production unit or in the laboratory.
 By : Adrian T.


Srivastava, M.L., (2008), Fermentation Technology, Alpha Science International, Oxford

Trehan, K., (1990), Biotechnology, New Age International, New Delhi


  1. Thank you for all this great info. I'm doing an analytical report on single cell protein as a food source and have really enjoyed your blog.

    Sincerely, Joni

  2. Thanks for the info, although is the gene coding for this vast amount of protein on a single chromosome? or is it present in multiple chromosomes? say, i wanted to isolate the particular gene for further studies.

  3. Basically, are there multiple genes coding for these proteins?

  4. Thanks for your kind informations..!

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  6. I am really grateful to you for this informative post. I have been compiling a project report on the single cell and your post will be really helpful in it.

  7. some new information are there for me,its exciting

  8. Thanks for information for SCP

  9. thanks for the information, it was really helpful

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