Making Chicken-Free Egg Whites

Making Chicken-Free Egg Whites ...

Cellular agriculture is a method of producing animal-derived goods without the need for animals, which would be beneficial for the environment than conventional agriculture. It has been used to produce meat and human milk from cell culture, with cell-cultured seafood as well as cell-cultured eggs being available on the menu. Molecular fermentation is also a possibility, based on casein and whey.

Global egg production has nearly doubled in the past 20 years, and cellular agriculture might provide an alternative to the need of consumers to compete in this task. Onego Bio has recently received funding to commercialize their precision fermentation technology for egg white without chickens.

Bioalbumen, a chicken-free egg white protein, has the potential to be a component in confectionery, baking, or as a protein supplement.

Maija Itkonen, the CEO of Onego Bio, spoke to the public to discuss the origins of bioalbumen research.

Katie Brighton (KB): Can you explain the fundamentals of cell agriculture? How does it work? What impact might it have on food production?

Cellular agriculture is a form of multidisciplinary food production. The final components are often the same, and the only difference is in how they are developed. Cellular agriculture is a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use.

KB: What benefits do people gain from using cell technology over traditional farming, mainly for egg white production?

MI: A random life cycle analysis based on data from a research was conducted to investigate the impacts of Trichoderma-derived ovalbumin (Tr-OVA) production and an equivalent functional unit of dried chicken egg white protein. Tr-OVA production demonstrated the potential to mitigate most agricultural-related impacts, such as global warming and land use. Switching Tr-OVA production location and using low-carbon energy sources may further reduce environmental impacts.

How did Onego Bio initialize making bioalbumen?

MI: VTT has a partner partner, where the teams have been working on the possibility of producing animal protein with cell agriculture for the last six or seven years. Trichoderma research has a long history at VTT.

Finnish VTT LaunchPad has developed a science-based spin-off incubator that employs the best business leaders and investors out there to revitalize industries. VTT LaunchPad has supported incubator teams in transforming VTT''s owned IPR into fundable spin-off companies.

What were the key conclusions that resulted in using fermentation to produce bioalbumen?

MI: From the start, precision fermentation was a natural option for this technology. Moreover, precision fermentation is a method that allows cellular organisms to produce complex organic molecules, such as proteins. The method can be compared to beer production, in which microflora is fed sugar to produce alcohol.

In terms of flavor, texture, cost, etc., the bioalbumen compares to an animal-derived egg white?

MI: The protein itself is identical, and therefore the flavor, texture, and methods of using it are equally identical.

Cost-wise, we are still at the laboratory level, but when we move to industrial production, we anticipate a cost that is identical or even lower than an animal-derived egg white.

What are the next steps before bioalbumen reach the market? What are the challenges associated with this process?

MI: Every novel product must go through a regulatory process that is designed to protect individuals. Depending on the market, it may still take months to years to get the commercial approval for the product. However, we are positive and confident about bioalbumen, as it is a known protein formed with a known process, only the combination of product and process is new.

Is there any other animal-free protein you want to develop in the future?

Im Moment, we''re totally focused on bioalbumen!

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