Single Cell Protein for Foods and Feeds: A Review of Trends

Helen Onyeaka1, *, Christian K. Anumudu1, Calistus Okpe2, Arthur Okafor3, Francis Ihenetu4, Taghi Miri1, Olumide A. Odeyemi5, Amarachukwu Anyogu6
1 School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK
2 Department of Microbiology, Federal University Otuoke, Otuoke, Bayelsa, Nigeria
3 Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), Vienna, Austria
4 Department of Microbiology, Imo State University, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
5 Office of Research Services, Research Division, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia
6 School of Biomedical Sciences, University of West London, London, W5 5RF, UK

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Creative Commons License
© 2022 Onyeaka et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK; Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 5292); E-mail:



Predictions on the world’s population in the next few decades suggest that the global demand for animal-derived proteins may not be met if current conventional agriculture approaches are used. One promising solution to this complex crisis lies in the use of single-cell proteins (SCP). SCP refers to the edible biomass of unicellular microorganisms and can be developed as animal feeds or human foods. This paper provides a detailed overview on research towards the production and utilisation of SCPs and trends within the field.

Study Design:

A bibliometric based study was conducted on 425 SCP research articles collected from the Web of Science database, analysing the most cited papers using VOSviewer software, and contributing authors, affiliations and country of origin. Research publications on SCP started in 1961 and has grown steadily over the years.


Emerging research topics within SCP production focused on the use of improved fungal strains, the composition and characteristics of SCPs based on the type of substrates used, industrial production processes and the use of waste for SCP production, which serves the dual purpose of mitigating the cost associated with waste disposal and production of a valuable product.

Keywords: Food alternative, Fermentation, Microbial genera, Food security, Food safety, Nutrition.