Agritech startup Life3 Biotech, Temasek Poly continue joint research in S-E Asia's first large-scale microalgae production

Agritech startup Life3 Biotech, Temasek Poly continue joint research in S-E Asia's first large-scale microalgae production

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LOCAL agritech startup Life3 Biotech has revealed its continued partnership with Temasek Polytechnic's Centre for Urban Sustainability in a joint research.

The startup and Temasek Polytechnic are working on producing nutrition-packed food-grade microalgae on a large scale, which will allow them to create plant-based seafood alternatives and contribute to achieving Singapore's food security.

This marks the first type of such controlled environmental agricultural production in South-east Asia.

The initiative between Life3 Biotech and Temasek Polytechnic follows an earlier research collaboration, which entailed the startup's scale-up production of microalgae in both the indoor and outdoor bioreactor at the polytechnic's Project Cube/Roots' agritech facility.

The continued partnership focuses on developing a special cultivation medium that uses food by-products to enhance the growth as well as nutritional profile of its microalgae variety as food ingredients.

The new partnership will optimise the cultivation process of microalgae strains to achieve higher yield and better nutrition profile, a press statement said. Nutrient profiling is the classification of foods according to their nutritional composition. 

Ricky Lin, founder of Life3 Biotech, said: "Given the land constraints in Singapore, it is very challenging to grow protein crops extensively as compared to other countries. However, this can be made possible with Singapore's first large-scale vertical bioreactor tanks."

He added that the partnership with Temasek Polytechnic will strengthen and improve the production of high-growth microalgae variety within a shorter period. 

"This will certainly contribute towards achieving the national goal of producing 30 per cent of Singapore's nutritional needs locally by 2030," Mr Lin said. In addition, he mentioned that this development is significant given the emerging food-grade microalgae production sector.

Mr Lin mentioned that the firm is working towards achieving intensive commercial farming in Singapore together with government agencies. 

He said that Temasek Polytechnic's expertise in water treatment and aquaculture was beneficial for this continued partnership. The startup worked with the polytechnic in designing the bioreactor system of these tanks.

The first phase of the bioreactor tanks has already been completed, with the second phase now underway. The second phase includes a bigger bioreactor that seeks to enlarge the production scale of the bioreactors. Target completion is set to be in December this year.