Precision fermentation is being used to make a wide variety of novel healthy, animal-free foods. Biotech is at the heart of the revolution in the food industry. Advanced enzymes are being utilised to improve processing routes or to make new functional ingredients.
Isomerase has worked on diverse projects in this area including:
- Novel Sweeteners - including prospecting for rare microbial strains that produce target compound and then developing a bioprocess for scalable manufacturing
- Functional Foods - Fermentation development for a key processing intermediate to make a novel functional ingredient
What is Precision Fermentation?
Precision fermentation is a cutting-edge manufacturing biotechnology that uses microorganisms such as yeast (e.g. Pichia pastoris or Saccharomyces cerevisiae), bacteria (e.g. Escherichia coli), or filamentous fungi (e.g. Aspergillus nidulans) to produce specific ingredients or products, often for the food, chemical and biopharmaceutical industries. It is like a high-tech brewing process where the microorganisms are programmed to produce commercially useful products instead of alcohol.
In short, to carry out precision fermentation, a microbial host is chosen, based on their natural abilities and suitability for genetic modification and production of the desired product. This organism is then engineered, with genes responsible for producing the desired ingredient, like a protein or enzyme, inserted into the microorganism's DNA. Fermentation is then used to produce the desired product, whereby the engineered microbes can be fed with nutrients and grown in large fermentation tanks under controlled conditions, similar to beer brewing. Finally, the product is extractied and purified from the fermentation broth.
Overall, precision fermentation holds enormous potential for revolutionizing various industries, from food and agriculture to medicine and materials science. The technology is already being used to generate a range of safe, sustainable, and innovative products made possible through the power of microbial engineering. The team at Isomerase can help with all steps of the process.
What products can be made via Precision Fermentation?
Precision fermentation can produce a wide range of ingredients, including animal-free proteins, which can be used in plant-based meat alternatives, dairy substitutes, chicken-free egg whites etc. For example, companies like Perfect Day and Clara Foods use precision fermentation to create animal-free milk and egg proteins, respectively. Enzymes, which are used in various industries, from food processing and everyday cleaning products to biofuel production. Flavourings and sweeteners can be naturally produced without relying on fruits or plants. Vitamins and nutraceuticals can be produced in a more controlled and sustainable way than traditional methods and bioactive molecules, such as those used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics can be generated for their therapeutic or functional properties.
What are the benefits of Precision Fermentation?
Benefits include improved sustainability: Compared to traditional production methods, precision fermentation can significantly reduce land, water, and greenhouse gas emissions. Improved efficiency: Microorganisms can be grown and multiplied rapidly using cheap substrates (often side products from other processes), leading to faster and more efficient production. Specific customization: The process can be fine-tuned to produce ingredients with specific properties and functionalities or with specific impurity profiles. Improved safety: Carefully controlled fermentation environments minimize the risk of contamination compared to traditional agriculture.
Contact us about your food and ingredients project
We’d be delighted to discuss your project and explore opportunities to collaborate - contact us