…[T]he next trend for [milk] isn’t a plant-based alternative: It’s cow’s milk—with a twist. Though nearly identical to the stuff you grew up drinking, this milk is produced not by bovines, but by yeasts—single-celled fungi. And if Perfect Day, a Bay Area-based synthetic-biology startup, has its way, you might be able to buy yeast-produced milk this year.
… Now a multibillion-dollar market, GM yeasts have given us important medical commodities such as insulin, hepatitis vaccines, and cancer-fighting drugs.
But it’s only in the last few years that companies have used genetically modified yeasts to “brew” food ingredients. … Yeast-made vanillin … has been on the market since 2014. …[W]e will soon have egg proteins and animal-free gelatin made from yeast. Saffron … is likely to follow.
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The company is happy to boast about the potential for yeast milk to take a load off the environment. Dairy production is responsible for almost 3 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans every year—more than airplanes. … According to a study commissioned by Perfect Day, switching from conventional dairy production to its yeast milk could mean a 98 percent reduction in water consumption and up to 65 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
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