Obtaining microbial protein based on natural gas.

The process of obtaining microbial protein from methane

Scheme of production of bioproducts microbial synthesis from non-food raw materials
Схема производства биопродуктов микробного синтеза из непищевого сырья
Learn more about the process of obtaining microbial protein from methane


Resulting from of the conducted selection, a strain was obtained which, when cultivated under industrial conditions on natural gas, could be used both as a part of an association and individually.
In recent years, the global industrial community has been paying special attention to the issue of generating microbial protein based on natural gas. The most successful and effective works in the Russian Federation on the adoption of industrial technology for the microbial protein production based on natural gas were carried out by GIPROBIOSINTEZ.

A strain of methane-oxidizing bacteria Methylococcus capsulatus GBS-15 ™, that feature-wise surpasses all known world analogues, was obtained from the enrichment culture of obligate methane-oxidizing microorganisms with subsequent step-by-step autoselection in continuous upstream development process.
The strain has been deposited in the in Russian National Collection of Industrial Microorganisms and it has a high technological potential, in particular:

  • augmented stability to co-oxidation products of methane homologs of natural gas, it allows to use natural gas of different composition and broaden the range of raw materials resources for industrial process;
  • ability to heterotrophic carbon dioxide fixation, that ensures a lower economic consumption ratio of the substrate (methane);
  • phage-resistant;
  • resistant to short-term temperature and pressure differential;
  • competitive ability against other types of methane-oxidizing bacteria;
  • is thermotolerant;
  • is neither pathogenic, nor genetically modified. It does not contain genes of other organisms.

Modern Russian Biotechnology

  • Protein and products of its processing are not pathogenic
  • Microorganisms quickly die outside the nutrient medium
  • The most closed production cycle fully meets modern environmental standards
  • Biomass growth hundreds of times faster than that of animals
  • Fermenters can work in parallel
  • 24/7, regardless of weather conditions and sunlight
  • Automatic production control
  • Manual labor is minimal

About production

The resulting products of LLC "GIPROBIOSINTEZ" in almost all respects significantly exceed traditional protein feeds, including such indicators as protein content, digestibility, amino acid and vitamin composition.
The constant growth of the world's population is inextricably linked with the need to solve the problem of reliable global food security. The consumption of basic foodstuffs such as meat, poultry, and fish is growing. Accordingly, more and more quality food base is required.

Experts estimate the current global consumption of feed protein at 300 million tons, and by 2023 this figure will increase to 360 million tons.
The production of plant and animal feed no longer satisfies not only world demand, but also the requirements for the content of nutrients. The consumer needs a high-quality, properly balanced product with a set of vitamins and a high protein content. The global shortage of high-quality feed with a high protein content is estimated at 30-35 million tons per year, and the Russian one - at 2.5 million tons per year.
Thanks to successful testing of the technology for the production of products obtained by microbiological synthesis from non-food raw materials - methane based on the Methylococcus capsulatus GBS-15™ strain, GIPROBIOSINTEZ LLC plans to bring high-quality products under the DreamFeed™ and DreamFood™ trademarks to the market in the near future. At the same time, production makes it possible to ensure constant quality characteristics of the product, which greatly simplifies the work of feed producers.

The data obtained during the testing of the product show that one ton of DreamFeed™ will balance the protein content of 20 tons of feed; additionally receive 1-1.5 tons of poultry meat or 0.5-0.8 tons of pork or 10-15 thousand eggs; save 5-7 tons of feed grain; exclude from the diet of feeding calves and piglets about 6 tons of whole milk.

Tests on juvenile "northern fish" showed that the larvae grown on the DreamFeed™ product were characterized by a high growth rate (up to 85%), good survival (more than 90% for muksun), low weight variability and good physiological condition.


The possibility of using biomass of methane-oxidizing microorganisms as a protein component in live-stock animals feed and in human food was understood as a promising research trend in the early 1960’s, almost simultaneously with research for protein substances production technology from unconventional raw materials - petroleum hydrocarbons and alcohols.

In the Soviet Union, the works on creating an industrial technology for protein substances production from natural gas commenced in 1964 at “All-Union research institute “VNII Sintezbelok” almost simultaneously with the institute being established. Its main target was to develop the scientific foundations of feed protein production technology from various types of raw materials, in particular from oil n-paraffins, natural gas, diesel fuel, synthetic alcohols, etc., and the development of an industrial technology for protein substances production from the above mentioned types of raw materials.

In 1969, an Intergovernmental Agreement was signed between the USSR and the GDR governing the technologies development for microbial protein production from hydrocarbons. Under the agreement, a program for a period of 20 years was developed. Its ultimate goal was to build an industrial plant for microbiological dewaxing of diesel fuel to produce feed protein in Schwedt (the GDR) and to create in the USSR feed protein production from natural gas with initial capacity of 10,000 tons per annum.
Since the mid-60s of the 20th century, research for using natural gas as a raw material for microbial protein production had been initiated. A methane-oxidizing culture was selected and studies were carried out on experimental facilities in experimental-industrial conditions.
At the end of the 70s of the last century, the organization of industrial production began at the Svetloyarsk plant of protein-vitamin concentrates (BVK).

In 1983 the pilot-plant equipment for biomass production from natural gas with initial capacity of 10,000 tpa was brought into production. In the next 2 years the plant commenced commercial operations. That manufacturing complex had been producing about 1000 tons of biomass from natural gas per month during 1988-1994. Later, the plant was designed to be equipped with the second similar module, and the combined estimated production capacity should have been reached 30 thousand tons of feed protein per annum. In total, up to 1994, about 40 thousand tons of biomass from natural gas had been produced and sold (both for Russian farms and for export deliveries to Bulgaria, Israel, Turkey, and Malaysia).

In 1991 - 1992, because of crisis phenomena in the economy of the Russian Federation, the further construction was frozen and production was suspended in May 1994 Company Statoil (Norway) carried out similar works on technology development for feed protein production from natural gas. In 1990, Statoil considered the possibility of procuring that production technology from the Soviet side. However, it later acquired the company Dansk Bioprotein (Odense, Denmark).


At the premises of Small Innovative Enterprise “Biotechnology Center”, the work was carried out to refine and to bring the Design Basis Specification for biomass production unit based on natural gas and products of its advanced processing.
For management control and process analysis of continuous methane-oxidizing microorganisms cultivation, a regular analysis of medium composition and microbial control of production at all stages was maintained, including: checking the stock culture dominance, the content of accompanying microorganisms (with the help of microscopy and specific tests, as well as monitoring the chemical composition and contamination microflora.
RNA, DNA and denuclearized biomass manufacturing process has been developed. They can be used as raw materials for food industry, medicine and cosmetology.

A special design of a fermenter for intensive process management under elevated pressure with gaseous substrate applied has been developed.
The system of nutrient salt preparation has been improved considering almost complete elimination of manual labor. Only manual filling of salts is still in place, all further actions are performed with the help of automation and appropriate pumps.
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