Went along to the well known Indie Bio Labs in San Francisco and saw some of the great companies they’re supporting. It was very hard to pick the most impressive presentation, but for sheer technology I have to go with NovoNutrients (https://www.novonutrients.com)
1 – NovoNutrients
Their technology uses waste Carbon Dioxide combine with Hydrogen, Oxygen, water and mineral salts to grow a mixed group of microbes, or consortium of microbes, in a bioreactor to produce proteins and lipids. Furthermore the microbes do not require any sunlight! They can thus be grown continuously 24/7. The output can be modified to yield tailored protein, lipid products and even produce Omega-3-rich fish oil replacements and other valuable products. They quoted that 40,000 acres of soybeans could be replaced with a 400 acre factory, so it’s incredibly land efficient.
They’re initially targeting the fish meal market as, according to their website “16 million tons of wild fish are caught and processed into aquaculture feed every year. Despite maxed out fisheries, fish farming’s resource demand is surging. Since 1995, there’s been a 6-fold increase in prices of feed ingredients rendered from wild fish (fishmeal and fish oil), highlighting a choke point at the heart of the ~$100+ billion aquaculture feed market.” Certainly sounds lucrative to me!
The other companies, in presentation order were;
2 – Bolt Threads
Mushroom Leather! Spider Silk!
Yes, you read correctly a leather-like product made from the underground portion of mushrooms, the mycelia and called Mylo. It can be produced in around 2 weeks vs the years it takes to produce animal leather. It’s a low impact process that uses supplemented corn stalks as the growth medium.
Their Spider silk process uses bio-engineered yeast to produce silk type proteins in fermentation vessels. The liquid silk is then processed to become solid and then spun into fibres similarly to the process used to make acrylic and rayon.
The target markets are the garment and leather products markets and the Mylo bag will be available in 6-9 months time. Who wouldn’t want such a cutting edge product so go here and make a Kickstarter pledge, I did!
They’ve also made some proof of concept Spider Silk ties which are all sold out.
3 – New Age Meats
New Age Meats is taking a somewhat different approach to other Clean Meat Companies because they’re looking at Pork as their preferred product. This largely based on the huge amount of data available on pigs due to their use in human medicine. They plan to produce a sausage product as their proof of concept and that’ll be released in a few weeks (UPDATE: They delivered their product and it performed spectacularly https://www.businessinsider.com.au/taste-test-first-cell-based-clean-sausage-meat-made-without-farm-2018-9?r=US&IR=T ) Also they’re using a big data approach to their research to rapidly zero in on promising lines of research.
Their market’s like most other Clean Meat companies, the meat buying general public!
4 – STAMM
Stämm is providing equipment that can be used to scale up and improve the production of cell biomass such as Clean Meat. It’s a laminar flow bioreactor rather than the old batch type bioreactor. They can apparently harvest up to 50% of the biomass per cycle for continuous production.
These miniaturised bioreactors can also allow for modular scaling.
Their market is really anyone requiring a bioreactor. The Clean Meat industry in particular could benefit greatly given its continuous large scale requirements for industrial scale food production