‘Proudly genetically modified…’ Moolec ‘molecular farming’ co gears up to launch meat proteins from GM crops

The firm – which has staff in the US, Argentina, the UK, and the Netherlands, and is initially targeting the North American market – has the capability to express a variety of animal proteins in plants, from egg albumin in wheat, to whey in oats.

Its first products – a nutritional oil containing gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and chymosin (an enzyme used in cheese-making that was historically sourced from calf rennet and is now routinely made via genetically engineered microbes in fermentation tanks) – are produced by genetically engineered safflower plants, said co-founder and CEO Gaston Paladini.

“We have the chymosin and GLA from safflower already and we are in the scale up stage with these two products.”

‘There are plenty of different proteins and molecules in meat that nobody has explored yet’

Next, Moolechis targeting the meat alternatives market with ingredients from yellow pea and soy crops that have been modified to produce bovine and porcine proteins in addition to regular plant protein, Paladini told FoodNavigator-USA.

“We are focusing on proteins from the blood and the muscles of animals that can improve taste, nutrition, flavor, color… the organoleptic properties and texture of meat alternatives.”

Asked whether he was talking about meaty-tasting proteins such as myoglobin​​, which Motif FoodWorks is expressing in a genetically engineered strain of yeast, he said: “There are plenty of different proteins and molecules in meat that nobody has explored yet.

“We want to replicate the whole experience using plants not only as a host to produce a particular meat molecule, but we also want to combine the matrix of the plant proteins and these​ [animal] proteins​,” which might mean a soy protein isolate that also contains bovine protein, or a yellow pea protein that also contains porcine proteins, for example.

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