Skip to content
precision fermentation matchmaking, what does the cooperation between the two food giants portend?
With the frequent occurrence of extreme weather, people increasingly call for innovative development models of green and environmental protection. Global enterprises, from industry leaders to start-ups, have explored new ways of low-carbon operation and assumed more social responsibilities – or reached cooperation with public welfare organizations, or adopted recycling and recyclable packaging, or optimized process technology and reduced resource consumption
Recently, Fonterra, the world’s sixth largest dairy company, announced that it would join hands with royal DSM of the Netherlands to set up a start-up enterprise, aiming at developing non dairy proteins through precision fermentation and accelerating the commercialization of fermentation derived proteins. This move has aroused widespread concern and discussion in the industry. Why do dairy giants favor artificial proteins? What will be the relationship between the new business and Fonterra’s existing dairy business? In the increasingly competitive field of precision fermentation, can newly established companies quickly stand out?
From new proteins to greenhouse gas emission reduction,
Complementary advantages make the two giants cooperate closely
It is understood that since the beginning of 2019, the two food giants have reached a consensus to comprehensively study how to use the science and technology of precision fermentation to produce proteins similar to those in dairy products. At present, Fonterra and DSM have applied for intellectual property patents for the project. The newly established startup will use this intellectual property to accelerate the commercialization of product solutions and further focus on the research and development of precision fermentation products. This cooperation will be another milestone in the long-term R & D cooperation between the two sides.
Komal Mistry Mehta, chief innovation and brand officer of Fonterra, said: “the new startup is an exciting cooperation opportunity. In this cooperation, DSM’s global leading professional advantages in the field of precision fermentation, combined with Fonterra’s world-leading dairy R & D technology, can create broader business opportunities.”
“For customers and consumers, the proteins produced by fermentation have wide application possibilities. This partnership is completely consistent with Fonterra’s strategy of becoming a leader in dairy innovation and science.”
Image source: foodingredientsfirst
Compared with the traditional animal milk production system, precision fermentation greatly improves the production efficiency and saves raw materials. Relevant data show that the efficiency of raw materials produced by cattle as a “production tool” is extremely low – only 4%, but precision fermentation can increase this figure to 40% – 80%, so it is called the third pillar to replace the protein industry. In addition, precision fermentation products are not genetically modified organisms. They only have the same protein genes as animal milk. From the perspective of the laboratory, they are no different from animal milk; But technically speaking, it is not a dairy product.
In essence, precision fermentation is the domestication of microorganisms by humans, a positive transformation at the cellular level based on modern technology, which coincides with the current molecular biotechnology. In countries around the world, there are countless start-ups engaged in the field of precision fermentation, which have shown a sharp increase in the past 2-3 years. Among them, perfect day (the United States), which developed plant-based whey protein, turtle tree (Singapore), which launched the first “sustainable lactoferrin ingredient LF +”, and melt & marble (Sweden), which developed animal fat mimetics, have become industry leaders. In 2020 alone, 44 companies focusing on alternative protein fermentation were established in the world, including DuPont, Novozymes and other world’s largest food life sciences companies, which are also developing fermentation derivative product lines and customized solutions.
Image source: www.foodstrategy.co.uk
In May this year, the national development and Reform Commission issued the “14th five year plan” for bioeconomy development, which clearly put forward the medium-term goal of “developing synthetic biology technology and exploring new foods such as” artificial protein “. The domestic new protein fermentation industry is still in the early stage of development. There are 13 publicly available protein fermentation enterprises, involving yeast, mycelium, microalgae biomass fermentation and precision fermentation. Compared with the overseas market in full swing, there is no limit to the development space.
Fonterra and DSM have joined hands to enter the precision fermentation track, which will undoubtedly stimulate the enthusiasm of domestic food fermentation enterprises to devote themselves to “future food”. Foodaily also looks forward to seeing more local enterprises cast their own figures on the layout of the global precision fermentation industry!
Facing the future, weaving the vision of the enterprise with new technology
From a commercial perspective, the driving force behind the joint development of the market by the two industry giants is not only the enthusiasm in the field of precision fermentation and the demand from the market, but also the in-depth thinking of both sides on their future development layout.
Image source: Fonterra official website
In March this year, Fonterra announced its interim results for fiscal year 2022. When evaluating the group’s performance and long-term strategy, CEO miles Hurrell said: “we are determined to become a leader in sustainable dairy industry, innovation and science of dairy products… And gradually develop to produce higher value raw materials and products.”
Looking back at DSM’s actions in precision fermentation and future food research in the past year, we can see how this century old enterprise “sees the future and follows the times”:
In May 2021, designed brewerscompass, a brewing enzyme solution that can use all kinds of local grain raw materials (instead of MALT) ®；
In August 2021, DSM maximvert, an invertase that can significantly shorten the fermentation time of sucrose based hard soda water, was developed ®、 Amigase Mega ®；
In March 2022, canolapro, an upgraded recycling rapeseed protein isolate, was extracted from non transgenic rapeseed ®；
In April 2022, maxavor, a solution to optimize the flavor of plant-based fish, was released ® Fish YE。
It is not difficult to see that most of DSM’s research projects ultimately point to sustainability, which is due to DSM’s successful transformation several times in its 100 year history and the establishment of accurate judgment on the current business environment. In its performance report for the first half of 2022 released not long ago, DSM explicitly regarded “focusing on sustainable development and innovation to promote long-term growth” as one of its strategies.
Before working with Fonterra, DSM has made many commercial moves in the field of precision fermentation. Last September, DSM signed a cooperation agreement with meatable, a Dutch cell culture meat startup, to jointly develop high-performance culture media required for artificial meat. In July this year, DSM venture, a venture capital department under DSM, raised US $14.5 million in round a financing for phytolon, an Israeli startup, for the production of natural food pigments by microbial fermentation.
Image source: cropforlife.com
This cooperation with Fonterra in deepening the precision fermentation business not only provides technical support for the development of DSM’s “food nutrition and technology” sector, but also becomes another testing ground for the implementation of its sustainable strategy.
If precision fermentation is regarded as the golden key to finding sustainable food ingredients in the future, DSM has more than one golden key.
In May 2021, DSM cooperated with Chilean start-up debut biotech to develop the next generation of “cell-free” biomanufacturing technology. The new technology fixes customized enzymes and microbial catalysts in place to convert low-value nutrients (such as glucose) into high-value ingredients (such as antioxidants, natural colors and preservatives). The extracellular synthesis pathway has completed the metabolic transformation impossible in the microbial fermentation system with a wider adaptability to pH and temperature.
Image source: genengnews.com
It is DSM’s unremitting exploration of “future food” and the rich experience and transformation potential accumulated in this field that make us have more expectations for this cooperation between Fonterra and DSM!
The concept of sustainability has been deeply integrated into the development trajectory of every industry
Fonterra joined hands with DSM again. Why did precision fermentation become the new focus of giants?
2021年5月，帝斯曼与智利初创公司Debut Biotech 合作开发下一代“无细胞”生物制造技术。新技术将定制酶、微生物催化剂固定在适当位置，将低值营养成分（如葡萄糖）转化为高价值成分（如抗氧化剂、天然色素和防腐剂）。细胞外合成路径以更广泛的pH值和温度适应能力完成了在微生物发酵系统中不可能进行的代谢转化。
恒天然与帝斯曼的合作，将让行业再次感受到可持续与科技对于产业发展的推动作用。正如恒天然首席创新和品牌官 Komal Mistry-Mehta所讲：新兴技术生产的蛋白质与我们的乳脂产品可以完美匹配、相得益彰。
- In May 2021, designed brewerscompass, a brewing enzyme solution that can use all kinds of local grain raw materials (instead of MALT) ®；
- In August 2021, DSM maximvert, an invertase that can significantly shorten the fermentation time of sucrose based hard soda water, was developed ®、 Amigase Mega ®；
- In March 2022, canolapro, an upgraded recycling rapeseed protein isolate, was extracted from non transgenic rapeseed ®；
- In April 2022, maxavor, a solution to optimize the flavor of plant-based fish, was released ® Fish YE。