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New Zealand's Daisy Lab closes seed round

March 6, 2023

The New Zealand-based precision fermentation specialist, Daisy Lab, has just announced that it has closed its seed round, which will allow the company to scale the production of its whey protein and continue research into caseins.

Daisy Lab, which was established by Auckland University’s genomics lead Dr Nikki Freed, research scientist Emily McIsaac and former industry consultant Irina Miller, uses precision fermentation technology to create casein and whey, for the development of bio-identical, dairy alternative products such as cheese and ice cream.

"We are grateful to Latesha Randall who kicked off the round with Values Trust at the end of last year and everyone who backed us: Icehouse Ventures, Outset Ventures, Paul Davidson, Even Capital, Serge van Dam, Melanie Vivian, Ph.D., Adam Clark, K1W1, Sustainable Food Ventures," the company stated in a blog on its website.

Traditional fermentation has been around for thousands of years and is used to create many of our beloved pantry staples like bread, cheese, beer and wine. It uses friendly microorganisms that live and multiply in the product, feeding on sugars and producing additional elements (like enzymes, proteins, alcohols, etc). These add flavour and change physical and chemical properties of the original product. Precision fermentation is similar and uses microorganisms to break down sugars to create different substances in the process. The reason it is called ‘precision’ is because you can 'train' the microorganism to produce an array of different things – from drugs and vaccines to flavors and proteins. An example of precision fermentation is the production of human insulin that replaced bovine and porcine-sourced insulin in the 1980s. This technology is no stranger to the food industry either. Dairy cheese manufacturing uses fermentation-based rennet – an enzyme that makes milk curdle. Prior to the introduction of microbiological rennet in the 1980s, the rennet was extracted from the stomachs of calves.

Precision fermentation is a rapidly growing field that allows companies to produce high-quality proteins and other biomolecules without the need for animal agriculture. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the food industry and help address some of the biggest challenges facing our planet, such as climate change and food insecurity. Daisy Lab is at the forefront of this field and is developing novel ways to produce high-quality dairy-identical proteins using precision fermentation.

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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