Precision fermentation: creating animal-free, not dairy-free, vegan cheese




Precision Fermentation so far fits the definition of ANIMAL-FREE.

Animal Cell Meat (ACM) does not.

Animal-freers eat mushrooms, tofu and yogurt don’t we? Mushrooms aren’t categorized as plants. They’re fungi. Tofu is made by fermentation as is plant yogurt. Beer is fermented, so why not use a similar, but equal in that they are animal-free, in the making of animal-free, vegan or plant-based cheese?

Precision fermentation: creating animal-free, not dairy-free, vegan cheese

By Alice Grahame May 16, 2021 

precision fermentation

August 20, 2021

Hallmarked as the third pillar of alt-protein, precision fermentation can harness real dairy proteins to make vegan cheese without the animals.

In the near future, vegans will be eating real cheese, according to leading players in alt-dairy. Not cheese substitutes made from coconut or cashews, but actual cheese. Because scientists have figured out how to make real cheese, identical in taste, texture and nutritional profile to traditional dairy without using a cow.

The game-changer is the precision fermentation process, which will enable a new wave of fermentation-based dairy products to appear in stores over the next few years.

Emma Ignaszewski from the Good Food Institute, a non-profit that supports plant-based food, describes precision fermentation as “a process for producing alternative proteins and other ingredients without animals. It uses microbial hosts like yeast as ‘cell factories’ for producing specific functional ingredients — like proteins and fats. It’s especially useful for producing ingredients that typically require greater purity than a product’s primary ingredients.”

Irina Gerry is the chief marketing officer of US-Australian alt-dairy company Change Foods. She says the technology allows the brand to produce bio-identical dairy proteins, like casein, without the use of animals: “We do this by encoding dairy protein DNA sequences on to microorganisms, such as yeast or fungi, and then placing them into fermentation tanks, like those used to brew beer, where the yeast or fungi eats simple plant-based nutrients and sugars to grow.

“During the fermentation process, these select microbes produce proteins that are identical to those found in cow’s dairy milk. These proteins are filtered into a pure milk protein isolate that can be used to create favourite dairy products without the use of animals.”

Precision fermentation is a rapidly developing food tech sector. $274 million was invested in 2019 and $587 million was invested in 2020, a greater than twofold increase.

“It eliminates the need to get ingredients from animals. In addition to the animal welfare, environmental, and public health benefits, using precision fermentation at scale can be incredibly efficient,” explains Ignaszewski. “The conversion of inputs to outputs is vastly more streamlined than cycling calories through an animal. As these technologies scale up, the prices will come down.”

She further points out that food think tank RethinkX anticipates that prices for dairy proteins like casein and whey will be five times cheaper than animal-based versions by 2030.

A good example is Perfect Day, an American company using fungi to make whey and casein proteins identical to those produced by cows. It uses cow genes already catalogued in free scientific databases. Genetic information can also be obtained from hairs or a cheek swab.

Perfect Day’s fermentation-derived dairy proteins are a key ingredient in the animal-free ice cream by Brave Robot and Smitten, which is now on sale online and in shops in the

Nate Crosser is the entrepreneur-in-residence at Blue Horizon Corporation, a leading venture capital and private equity firm focused on alternative proteins. He has consulted with numerous precision fermentation companies and written and spoken extensively on the topic. He says these products will be of particular interest to vegans.

“Precision fermentation solves the issue of animal exploitation, even if animal proteins are present. It’s absolutely vegan. Precision fermentation will make veganism much more accessible by enabling new delicious products. We should be open-minded about the new generations of alt-protein products coming to market.

“Even though a product might seem technological, we should realise that nearly everything we eat nowadays is the result of food technology. These technologies have the potential to liberate billions of animals from suffering, reduce human malnutrition, fight climate change and prevent the next outbreak of zoonotic disease.”

There are around 51 food companies working in precision fermentation developing alternative proteins. Here are some to watch.

Published by Sharon Lee Davies-Tight, artist, writer, chef

Chef Davies-Tight™. The Animal-Free Chef™. ANIMAL-FREE SOUS-CHEF™. FAT-FREE CHEF™. Word Warrior Davies-Tight™. HAPPY WHITE HORSE™. SHARON ON THE NEWS™. BIRTH OF A SEED™. Till now and forever © Sharon Lee Davies-Tight, Artist, Author, Animal-Free Chef, Activist. ARCHITECT of 5 PRINCIPLES TO A BETTER LIFE™ & MAINSTREAM ANIMAL-FREE CUISINE™.

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