More efficient precision fermentation could be on the way with the development of synthetic living cells. A major advantage of this approach is that these cells should be more efficient “factories” as they they can concentrate on producing the particular molecule required. They also require much less infrastructure to maintain than many traditionally used microbes.
As first author Dr. Can Xu, says “Our living-material assembly approach provides an opportunity for the bottom-up construction of symbiotic living/synthetic cell constructs. For example, using engineered bacteria, it should be possible to fabricate complex modules for development in diagnostic and therapeutic areas of synthetic biology, biomanufacturing, and biotechnology in general.”
There’s still a way to go before the technique can go mainstream. But this illustrates several points; firstly the exponential advances happening in synthetic biology. Secondly advances like this increases the longer term probability that precision fermentation products will become competitive with, or even cheaper than, their animal counterparts.
Thirdly, and most importantly, it illustrates the danger of writing off technologies because the CURRENT state of the art is deemed uncompetitive. Remember, technologies advance exponentially
Never say never…………