NAME: Wahyu Wijaya
PROJECT: Fresh Microalgae Paste Stabilization As Food Substitute
Microalgae are little plants with big potential. Microalgae are nutritious, providing a high-quality source of protein equal to that of other conventional vegetable proteins. They also proliferate at a high rate and can grow in unstable environments, such as deserts. Their ability to thrive in harsh areas, coupled with their natural ability to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, also make it an environmentally friendly food choice.
Microorganisms like microalgae can serve as a sustainable food solution for the future, which is particularly important in countries facing problems with malnourishment and climate change.
Microalgae as a foodstuff does not come without its own set of difficulties, however. Sensory characteristics such as a fishy odor, dark color, and rough texture have limited its potential to become a staple food or to become incorporated into food products. Intrigued by this dilemma, Wahyu Wijaya asked, why don’t we improve the functionality and sensory characteristics of the raw biomass by transforming it into something more accessible?
Wijaya’s idea is to provide a processing technology for the raw biomass to be turned into a paste so that it can be added to food products like pasta and cereals. As a paste, it would have a much longer shelf life and more pleasing sensory characteristics. Microalgae’s widespread availability and significant nutritional value make it a desirable dietary addition to food products. Incorporating a microalgae paste into food products, particularly in countries that are suffering from nutrition and climate change issues, could have a positive impact on health and sustainability.