From Microbes to Meals: How Precision Fermentation Is Set to Transform the Food Industry

July 18, 2023
Daniel Winter
Protein Science Lead

With a background in molecular biology, I've gained over ten years of experience in making proteins. I've learned a lot during my studies and work, and it's important to know that I can't do this alone.

Instead, I work closely with a bunch of tiny organisms who do most of the heavy lifting. Powered by the nutrients I provide, these little wonders transform those nutrients into complex proteins. My role is to guide them in creating the specific protein we require.

As a researcher, I've made many proteins in different labs, but the satisfaction of seeing microbes turn into concentrated, dried proteins is always special. Even producing a small amount of protein has been very rewarding throughout my career.

Let's take a closer look at what happens when we increase the scale of this process to produce kilograms or even tonnes of protein. Today, I'd like to discuss precision fermentation and its role in food production.

Precision fermentation is an effective method that harnesses the power of microbes to create specific molecules. In the food industry, it enables the production of proteins, fats, flavours, and other substances we typically obtain from animals and plants. By using innovative techniques like precision fermentation for protein production, we can develop ethical sources of protein, which is crucial for the future of our food supply.

But precision fermentation isn't just about quantity; it's also about quality. Microbes can replicate molecules perfectly, so the proteins they produce are identical to those found in nature. For instance, we can use precision fermentation to create dairy proteins that can be used in a wide range of products that have the same taste, aroma, and function as regular dairy staples.

As precision fermentation gains popularity in the food and beverage industry, we can expect to see more investment in this technology. I believe Australia has the potential to become a leader in both traditional and precision-fermented dairy. Being part of this journey is truly exciting.

In my view, what we're doing has the potential to provide the world with a complementary stream of ethical and reliable sources of dairy protein that can serve both industry and consumers. I'm eagerly anticipating our progress as a company and an industry in the coming years.

Source ref

S. Chaudhari, G. F. Branco, J. H. Pereira, and R. P. Fernandes (2021). Precision Fermentation: A Sustainable Method of Food and Beverage Production. 5th Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems.

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