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Food innovation

IngredientWerks develops molecular farming technology that grows beef protein in corn

young woman with glasses smiling
2 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
Scenic misty morning in a cornfield

Massachusetts-based molecular farming company IngredientWerks has announced that it has successfully developed a proprietary production platform which can grow beef protein in corn.

The company says it has produced a corn crop which expresses high levels of bovine myoglobin – a type of heme protein (which carries electrons and transporting oxygen in and around the body), typically found in the muscle tissue of cows and other animals.

IngredientWerks says the ingredient, which it calls ‘MeatyCorn’, can be used to add a meat-like taste, texture, and aroma to alternative protein applications.

During trials carried out at its test facility earlier this year, the company found the production platform exceeded the original target expression level of bovine myoglobin, reaching 10mgs per gram of corn. The ingredient was also a lot cheaper to produce than it had originally predicted.  

In light of the achievement, IngredientWerks has filed a patent application to protect its technology.

“This achievement is to the alternative protein industry as is the advancement in lithium-ion battery technology to the electric vehicle market – an engine that creates quality, affordable, and sustainable value and helps drive consumer adoption,” said Matt Plavan, CEO of IngredientWerks. “By reaching these expressions levels of myoglobin in corn, we believe we’ve solved three of the greatest challenges facing the alternative protein markets today – the production of high-quality, low-cost animal proteins at scale.”

IngredientWerks isn’t the first company to grow animal protein in plants. Last month, Moolec Science announced the successful development of its ‘Piggy Sooy’ technology which can grow pork protein in soybeans.

Elsewhere in Canada, a research team has used the corn plant to develop plant-based whole-cut muscle meat analogues with textural qualities that mimic those in beef or chicken.

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