Franchising fermentation, is this the future of synthetic biology? Could it create a “responsive, flexible, and distributed biomanufacturing ecosystem”, including food?
As this article in SynBioBeta points out, COVID-19 has demonstrated the weaknesses of having global supply chains. Could a horde of, agile, flexible SME synthetic biology companies offer better product security of supply? They could swap between products simply by changing the microbe that they use.
“Three components would be needed to set-up a biomanufacturing franchise: hardware (i.e., fermentation tanks), reusables and consumables (like microbes and feedstock), and training.” All of these are currently readily available, what would it take to kick-start such a bioeconomy?
Foresight by governments would be one accelerator, but is unlikely in the near future. For most governments synbio is still mostly under the radar and needs a much higher profile. Also there’s the enormous influence of the fossil fuel industry on governments to contend with. Many, many products are fossil fuel based, including food products.
As for food generally, Synbio will eat the world, and the world will eat synbio!