Many of you will be familiar with plantbased and cultivated meat, but what about growing animal meat components in plants? Companies like Nobell Foods, Tiamat Sciences Corp., Moolec Science and ORF Genetics hf. are doing just this using plant molecular farming.
Plant Molecular Farming (PMF) is the incorporation of new genes into plants, permanently or transiently, to produce proteins. This essentially makes plants biodegradable single-use bioreactors! So why use plants instead of giant stainless steel bioreactors? Well, plants have quite a few advantages.
1 – They’re inherently safe because no human pathogens grow in plants.
2 – There’s no need for sterile growth conditions as plants can use their own immune systems to fend off disease.
3 – Many of the methods used to incorporate genetic material into plants can be scaled to thousands of acres.
4 – The desired protein production can be achieved within 4-8 weeks or sometimes 3-5 days after inserting the appropriate DNA sequence.
5 – Capital expenditure is much lower. It’s been estimated that the capital cost of a 60,000 liter S1 safety level greenhouse can be built for 25 -55% of the cost of a similar bioreactor facility.
6 – They’re sustainable, many side streams can be extracted, and any remains are biodegradable.
And it’s now on the brink of commercialisation. For example Nobell recently raised USD75m to grow casein in soybeans in 2022, ORF already have animal growth factors for cultivated meat production and Tiamat have just raised USD3m to further their research.
For more background see my previous article, a prediction from March this year.