Sustainable Bioproducts (SB) proposes to develop an encapsulated biofilm-biomat reactor that will efficiently convert mission relevant feedstocks to usable products under zero gravity conditions. The bioreactor will be based on SB’s proprietary fermentation platform for converting a wide variety of waste streams into a multitude of usable products. SB’s bioreactor platform is simple, does not require energy during fermentation (other than temperature control), requires little water, and produces a very dense, easily harvested, consolidated/textured biomats with little to no waste. The biofilm-biomat fermentation technology enables growth on extreme media such as human waste (urine/feces) and produces a highly consolidated and textured biomass without the requirement of a separation or concentration step. Relatively high biomass production rates (0.55 g/L/h dry biomass) and high culture densities (100-180 g/L) are achieved without the need for active aeration or agitation. Scale-up of the system vertically or horizontally is simple and does not result in decreased productivity. The NASA sponsored research will optimize conversion of mission relevant feedstocks (human waste, food waste, plant materials) by adjusting reactor design and growth conditions. The biofilm-biomats produced in the optimized reactor system will be highly textured, 0.2 to 2.5 cm thick with a dry matter content of 10-18% and can be readily used for mission critical needs such as meat alternatives, other appetizing foods, fuels and building materials.
Closing life-support loops for NASA space missions: 1) Robust low maintenance bioreactors that do not require active aeration or agitation for rapid growth of filamentous microorganisms under zero gravity, 2) A biofilm-based reactor technology that enables growth on a wide variety of harsh feedstocks, 3) Bioreactors that producing dense, consolidated and easily harvested biomass, 4) An efficient production system that generates minimal waste residues, 5) A bioreactor system that easily scales
SB envisions advancing their current reactor technology to a hermetic reactor system for use in a wide variety of situations where protein-rich food is needed quickly, but access to food, and the resources to quickly produce food are limited. These situations include civilian needs during catastrophes such as earthquakes and floods, third world nations with urgent food needs, and food for support of military operations. Interest from governmental agencies such as USDA, FEM and DOD is expected.