There are no cows here… it’s “imaginDAIRY!”
Plant-based alternatives are now more widely available than ever. They’ve replaced things like meat, milk, and cheese – often with nut-based alternatives.
But now, this Israeli-based company is trying to develop a way to get rid of the “nuttiness” by having actual dairy… but without the cow!
Time for dairy to mooove over!
Every year, over 840 million tons of dairy products are produced often with negative impacts on the environment.
That’s why Tel Aviv University professor Tamir Tuller co-founded Imagindairy. They’re developing new ways to bioengineer yeast cells in order to create milk proteins. These proteins can then be used in milk and cheese products while getting rid of the negative effects on cows.
The process involved uses something called gene expression. That’s when the instructions in the DNA are changed into a functional product like a protein.
This technology is not new. It has been used for a variety of things like medicine, energy, and food – all by transferring genes from one organism to another. Imagindairy hopes to use gene expression to make yeast cells produce milk proteins using AI algorithms to create these proteins.
Challenges still lie ahead…
Before animal-free milk can be a reality, Imagindairy still has to get the proteins exactly right. The taste must be indistinguishable from cow’s milk, and they have to figure out how to scale it affordably.
Tuller states, “Even though we know what the genes that encode the proteins for cow’s milk are, those genes are written in the language of cow cells and need to be rewritten in the language of yeast. This will make the production of the milk proteins possible in an appropriate, affordable, and efficient way in the yeast cell factory.”
If they overcome these barriers, fewer animals will be impacted, and people can eat more sustainably sourced meals.
In other words: The future could be meatless!
With issues like deforestation, animal treatment, carbon emissions, and many other environmental concerns, more companies have been trying to curb human consumption of protein that comes directly from animals.
And more people are participating by trying to reduce their own carbon footprint when it comes to what they eat.
Many hope that in the future, we’ll help animals and the environment by finding lasting, affordable, and safe alternatives to animal-based products.