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Working group invites industry to address challenges in bioreactors for novel foods

February 13, 2024

Many of today’s approaches to producing new foods are biotechnological, hence require aseptic conditions for production. The companies using cell cultivation (animal, plant, fungi, yeast, etc), for instance, often veer toward bio-pharma offerings for their cultivation technology. But to what price?

“The price of the pharmaceutical industry technologies is often very high and will not allow the production of food at commercially attractive prices,” commented Klaus Kienle, Co-Founder & Head of Bioprocessing at Food Brewer, a Switzerland-based food and food ingredients company using plant cell cultures whose focus is on research, development, and marketing of pioneering technologies for large scale cultivation in fermenters (similar to beer brewing) as an alternative to conventional agriculture.

For the novel foods sector, finding bioreactors that are cost effective and scalable to +100,000 liters is a major current hurdle. A working group focused on new food, among other biotech, is therefore looking to overcome this challenge.

More than 30 participants spread across end-users (novel food companies), university and key suppliers in the area of bioreactors are currently discussing this topic with the goal of providing a status paper describing a minimal viable bioreactor system tailored for cultivated food.

Currently, about US$400,000 has to be invested for a 500-liter bioreactor; the goal should be a minimum range of US$200,000 or less for the next year. To enact this change, the group has clearly defined what is needed from a bioreactor, and those items are being discussed between the various group members so that a minimal bioreactor scheme is established that then serves the industry as a new guide to where the novel food industry goes.

A number of problem descriptions including needs have been defined (see table right) and will be further refined in the online and on-site meetings.

“We want to expand the circle of voices involved in these conversations, so we are inviting people to join us,” continued Kienle. “The working group is actively meeting every first Thursday in the month (once monthly) with an onsite meeting at Food Brewer in Horgen, Switzerland. The onsite meeting will be one day on 17 June 2024.”

Details and follow-ups will be communicated in the ongoing monthly online meetings and the closed LinkedIn group.

For further information or to join the working group, please email klaus.kienle@foodbrewer.com or kdahlmann@hamilton.ch

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

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