AnaPro Bioreactor
Photo: Marte M. Maråk

An increasing world population requires new, sustainable strategies for food and feed production. In this project, we are researching new solutions to produce biomass from microbes.

01 Sep 2021 - 30 Aug 2026

Novo Nordisk Fonden: EMERGING INVESTIGATOR 2021 – Research within Industrial Biotechnology and Environmental Biotechnology

  • Microbes have great potential sources of proteins and attractive macromolecules (e. g. drugs and bioplastics). They have an enormous repertoire in terms of food and energy sources, which makes it possible to develop cultivation processes that, for example, utilize industrial waste or are based on simple inorganic molecules, "air and water". Thus, microorganisms can contribute to the production of food, feed and other products without competing for agricultural land and regardless of climate or seasonal variations.

    There are many approaches to so-called precision fermentation, and some processes have already been implemented on a large scale, but they are based on aerobic (oxygen-dependent) respiration. Oxygen supply is a bottleneck due to low solubility in water. We have invented a method for oxygen-independent (anaerobic) cultivation of dense bacterial cultures (patent pending). AnaPro is a basic research project where we will identify relevant organisms and further develop anaerobic cultivation strategies with future industrial implementation in mind.  

  • Anaerobic cultivation of dense cultures for biomass production has hitherto remained unexplored. Within AnaPro, we aim to identify suitable bacteria that grow anaerobically with high yields. We will develop cultivation processes based on simple organic and inorganic carbon and energy sources. Selected organisms and processes can be taken further and implemented in collaboration with industry.

NMBU team


Mark van Loosdrecht II

Professor Mark van Loosdrecht

TU Delft

Herwig Bachmann II

Dr. Herwig Bachmann

VU Amsterdam