Updated: Apr 21, 2021
The global population is estimated to reach ~10 billion by 2050, with approximately a 2 fold increase in income per capita. With the increase in ability of larger populations to afford animal proteins, consumption patterns around the world are predicted to become increasingly based on animal derived products.
Milk is estimated to see an increase of 62% over the next 2 decades. The current way of producing animal derived products like is not sustainable, compared to their vegetable counterparts
Hence, it is important to either produce alternatives to Milk from more sustainable (Vegetable/Plant) sources or develop better ways of producing animal derived foods.
When we look closer at Milk, the key components of what make it an important nutritional and cultural cornerstone of diets across the world are the proteins. Hence, it is obvious that we need to develop methods to make these proteins more sustainably - this is where Microbes come in
Technologies such as ‘Recombinant protein production’ can become the alternative source of cow proteins - wherein the same mammalian proteins that are required to create milk are produced by engineered microorganisms.
Certain microbes have the advantage of producing high amounts of compounds of interest - this approach is nothing new, it has already been used in the biotech and pharma industry for more than two decades now.
While many proteins (eg: Insulin, moAbs) & enzymes have been produced this way, making proteins for human consumption has not seen this trend yet - primarily because of easy availability of products from traditional industries. However, with a rise in trends like more people adopting vegan lifestyle, food security concerns and a search of low carbon alternatives to cherished animal derived foods, there is a lot of interest worldwide in leveraging this approach for creating food products fit for human consumption.
Production of milk proteins by recombinant means can offer a sustainable additional source in the future. That’s why, we strongly believe that it is time to re:do dairy - this time, without animals.