AUSTRIA- A Vienna-based alternative dairy company, Fermify, has concluded pre-seed undisclosed funding to support the development of a fully automated platform to produce casein proteins to supply to CPG companies and dairy producers.
Übermorgen Ventures and Backbone Ventures led the pre-seeding for the start-up company and they are happy to join Fermify team experienced in their mission to disrupt the cheese market and provide a meaningful solution to fight climate change and animal injustice.
The fully digitized production platform will deliver cultivated casein proteins that will enable the company to produce cow-free cheese.
The casein proteins will have the same superior functional properties and nutritional profile as real cheese as claimed by the company.
Casein protein is a protein found in milk that gives milk its white color, with cow’s milk consisting of around 80% casein protein.
“We have programmed our first host organism which can express all the four casein types (alpha 1, alpha 2, beta, kappa),” Sommer said.
We believe that a combination of wet-lab experiments and in situ experiments will show us how we can produce fermentation-derived cheeses with the same organoleptic experience as the products we are used to.”
she revealed that the technology is very easy to scale and aims to enable a decentralized way to produce casein.
The start-up is including molecular modeling and simulations in its R&D to better understand the 3D network of cheese.
Precision fermentation allows food scientists to program microorganisms to produce organic molecules such as protein. The process uses microbial hosts as tiny – but extremely efficient – cell factories for creating the desired ingredients.
Fermify has assembled expertise including 12 scientists and engineers in bioprocess engineering, molecular biology, process digitalization, and food science to fulfill its vision.
With a bioreactor volume of 2,000 liters, the company aims to produce 18 tonnes of casein per annum and majorly targets CPG companies and dairy producers who want to produce casein in-house.
” Dairy production is not only extremely carbon-intensive, it also has negative effects on our health and on animal welfare. While numerous plant-based alternatives for meat and milk are already on the market, there are very few cheese alternatives that can live up to the eating experience of cheese made from mammal milk,” Adrian Bührer, managing partner at Übermorgen Ventures said in statement.
He also added that Fermify’s approach is less carbon-intensive and can be healthier for the consumer.
Having funds now, Fermify has revealed plans to expand its team, scale technology, and fast-track its first cheese production. The startup says its aim is to remove cows from the dairy industry by 2027.
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