The general objective of the SUSPUFA project is to develop an innovative process for sustainable production of high value n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA) using agro food industry by-products through microalgae cultivation and to evaluate the suibality of produced n-3 LCPUFAs as fish oil replacement for incorporation in food formulations.

Objective 1: Sustainable production of n-3 LCPUFA

Development of specific conditions for efficient and sustainable n-3 LCPUFA production through microalgae using agro food by-products and wastes as nutrient source for microalgae growth. The project will focus as starting points on FBWs coming from dairy, brewery, fruit and potato and sweet fruit processing industries but will look also for other suitable food industry side streams and wastes.

Development of specific protocols for each selected strains and FBWs based media, reporting the best microalgae production conditions and strategies to maximize the n-3 LCPUFA content and productivity. SUSPUFA project proposes to revisit the paradigm of microalgae production and explores a breakthrough patented process addressing, on a moving microalgal biofilm, 3 issues limiting microalgae productivity (light access, temperature management and harvesting).

Study on a biorefinery approach to increase the microalgae production sustainability through the extraction from the residual de-fatted biomass of other high-value co-products (pigments, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and anti-oxidants) with applications in cosmetics, nutritional and pharmaceuticals industries.

Development of a Techno-Economic Assessment of the new designed Micro-Algae Production System.

Objective 2: Evaluation of algae-derived n-3 LCPUFA as alternatives to fish-derived n-3 LCPUFA

Assessment of the influence of n-3 LCPUFA sources (microalgae versus fatty fish) on bioavailability of these compounds as well as on selected health parameters (related to immune effects).
The effect of algae-derived PUFA, in comparison to tuna oil, on the development and progression of allergic reactions will be studied via in vitro and in vivo approaches.

Objective 3: Product design

Design and development of high added-value food products enriched in n-3 LCPUFA. Evaluation of formulation and processing influences.

This approach should open a new market for n-3 LCPUFA enriched products.