Converting feathers to feed by fermentation

Written by: Maria Saarela — Senior Principal Scientist


Utilising side streams such as feathers to feed.


Finding safe bacterial strains to be used in fermentation of feathers.



Maria Saarela, Senior Principal Scientist, (PhD)
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Food and process microbiology

Maria Saarela in brief

Gut health & microbiota – both human and animal – are on top of the list of Maria Saarela’s research activities. The work includes the utilization of side streams as a substrate for microbial biomass for feed use.

“We are working with a multitude of topics such as food safety, novel ways to utilize microbes in the processing, health-promoting bacteria and the impact of food on gut microbiota. We have extensive experience in solving microbiological problems of food and process industry. Our target is to help food industry to develop new foods and food ingredients with the help of microbes”, describes Saarela.

Recently the team has also worked in the feed area, for example by producing microbial biomass with an improved amino acid composition from side streams or by processing feed material with microbes.

Maria Saarela is a member of EFSA’s (European Food Safety Authority) FEEDAP (Additives and products or substances used in animal feed) panel and panel vice-chair, and chair of the FEEDAP microbiology working group. She has also been a member in NDA (Dietetic products, nutrition and allergies) panel’s microbiology sub-working group.

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