Next-gen biomanufacturing… from lower-cost feedstocks for precision fermentation to ‘cell-free’ approaches

Speaking at FoodNavigator-USA’s Futureproofing the Food System​ virtual summit, Nusqe Spanton, ​founder and CEO at Provectus Algae​ – an Australian startup developing an automated growing platform it claims can unlock algae’s potential as a source of high-value ingredients – said finding organisms that can consume sustainable, cheap, feedstocks is mission critical for the long-term health of the biomanufacturing economy.

(Watch this session on demand by registering HERE​ and selecting the session entitled ‘FOOD TECH IN FOCUS: Sustainable sourcing for colors, flavors, and sweeteners; and plotting a future for dairy… without cows’)

Provectus Algae: ‘This is actually the biggest problem in synthetic biology as an industry’

Spanton added: “I think this is actually the biggest problem in synthetic biology as an industry… the cost of sugar has gone up substantially in the last six months alone and if you’re developing platforms that are coupled to those feedstocks, it’s a huge issue. Taking feedstocks from other industries ​[food crops, for example] is also kind of robbing one ​[industry] to pay the other.

“So what we specifically focused on at Provectus Algae is looking at the cheapest and most available feedstock on planet earth, which is carbon dioxide, which is free of charge in our atmosphere, and essentially pumping that into our systems. So we’re converting C02 into valuable ingredients with no other feedstocks than light itself, which can be generated off sustainable and renewable energies.”

Synthesis Capital: ‘One of the most exciting areas is around so-called C1 feedstocks’

Fellow panelist Dr David Welch, ​co-founder and CSO at ​Synthesis Capital, an investor in early stage food tech firms, said: “One of the most exciting areas is around so-called C1 feedstocks ​[low-cost abundant feedstocks such as carbon dioxide] and there are companies such as Arkeon and Solar Foods that are using these, but what’s exciting is a demonstration of the scalability of these technologies outside of the food space with companies like Solugen, which are already producing chemicals in this way via scale.”

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