Microalgae for Poultry Nutrition: UConn Researchers Receive NSF Future Manufacturing Grant

The interdisciplinary research team will develop a novel biomanufacturing technology to use microalgae to produce an essential amino acid for poultry feed. From left to right: Rigoberto Lopez, Yongku Cho, Yangchao Luo, Yu Lei, Mingyu Qiao, and Burcu Beykal. (Nick Snow, CAHNR photo)

Congratulations to Professors Burcu BeykalYongku Cho, and Yu Lei on winning the $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Future Manufacturing initiative!

This interdisciplinary team with Professors Mingyu Qiao (PI), Yangchao Luo, and Rigoberto Lopez from UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, and Professor C. Patrick Heidkamp from Southern Connecticut State University will tackle carbon-neutral amino acid synthesis with microalgae.

They will also develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model to determine, essentially, when the algae should act like a plant and when it should act like a microorganism based on the availability of sunlight or other essential nutrients to minimize costs. The AI model will automatically calculate how much of a given resource, like sugar, is needed to optimize amino acid production.

The grant will also include workshops for underrepresented high school and community college students to help prepare them to enter the biomanufacturing workforce in collaboration with Southern Connecticut State University.

Read more on UConn Today.