2023 Speaker Insights: Everything You Need to Know About Precision Fermentation

Food production is required to scale continuously to keep up with rate in which population is growing. Plus, the way in which food is produced needs to be more sustainable to protect the future of the planet for the generations to come.  

Precision fermentation has emerged as an additional source of protein that could underpin the growth of a sustainable bioeconomy in Australia. CSIRO explains that precision fermentation uses the same fundamental principles of fermentation that has a long and safe history in supplementing and diversifying our foods. 

Principal Scientist from CSIRO, Joe Liu spoke in detail on the topic at this year’s foodpro, outlining the benefits and challenges to this emerging technology.  

According to Liu, the biggest challenge with precision fermentation, as with most new technologies, is scaling up to make commercially viable. There are currently only three companies here in Australia (Nourish Ingredients, Vow and Eden Brew) and just 62 globally.  

“When it comes to scaling up – that is the biggest challenge globally. However, in Australia there is an ecosystem of scale-up infrastructure forming here,” said Liu. 

CSIRO’s Food Innovation Centre in Werribee, Victoria is a part of this infrastructure. At this pilot plant, they are planning to feature a 400-litre fermentation scale. 

Talking of other challenges, particularly within the food industry, Liu spoke about regulation.  

“Products need to go through regulatory approval before they can be put on shelves for consumer. We need to know how to deploy this technology into society and industry responsibly, as we are working with GMO technology, a highly inter-disciplinary field. 

The next steps for precision fermentation to become a sustainable source of protein for Australia, is for the industry to ‘put the pieces together’. 

“We have the science, and we can engineer molecules and design bio processing; we have the infrastructure and are building up and upgrading our existing facilities, and are working very hard to attract foreign investment,” said Liu. 

You can access the slides from CSIRO’s Joe Liu’s session here for more information

Image Reference:
Image Title: Proteins of the Future: Precision Fermentation
Source: CSIRO – Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Date Accessed: 15.11.2023

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