Plant-based, animal-free cow’s milk soon to be reality with GM yeast

Biohackers Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi are working on crafting a plant-based concoction that’s nearly identical in makeup to what’s found in grocery milk.

To achieve this, they’ve gone so far as modifying sunflower oil so that it can take on a structural composition similar to milk fats, substituted lactose with galactose, a nearly indistinguishable sugar, and culturing yeast to release casein, a natural animal milk protein. If successful, the process they’ve developed could someday be used to churn out a wide range of dairy products, such as cheese, butter and yogurt.

The duo, both with bioengineering backgrounds, are the co-founders of Muufri, a San Francisco-based start-up that hopes to fashion the idea of lab-brewed milk as a more humane alternative for consumers. Funded by Singularity University’s Synthetic Biology Accelerator program, they’ve spent the last few months in a lab at University College Cork in Ireland, where they’re closing in on a prototype batch that’s 100 percent animal-free.

“We’re basically using biotechnology to make milk without pasteurization and without the risk of contaminants like pesticides, hormones or bacteria that can spoil the milk quickly,” Pandya says. “It’s quite similar to the process to make medicine and insulin, so it will be super sterile.”

Read the full, original article: Man-made cow’s milk may soon be a reality

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