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Food innovation

Moolec Science develops technology that grows pork protein in soybeans

young woman with glasses smiling
3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
four soybeans laid out on white background, two soybeans cut in half, one white hue, one pink hue

Image credits: Moolec Science

Molecular farming food ingredient company Moolec Science has successfully developed a technology which can grow pork protein in soybeans.
Using its new technology called ‘Piggy Sooy’, Moolec’s team was able to grow up to 26.6% of total soluble porcine protein in soy seeds, which is four times more than the company had initially projected. As a result, the soybeans have a visible pink hue that matches the colour of real pork meat.
Moolec says the recent achievement proves plants have the potential to operate as ‘animal protein factories’.

Following the success of Piggy Sooy, the company plans to file a new patent for its molecular farming-based technology, which should help to make the regulatory pathway more straightforward in the future.
Moolec’s CEO & co-founder Gastón Paladini said in a statement: “Piggy Sooy represents tangible and visual proof that Moolec’s technology has the capacity to achieve significant yields in plants to produce meat proteins. With this groundbreaking achievement, Moolec consolidates its position as a category creator and a pioneer in Molecular Farming for the food industry. Our plant biology team is writing the history of science in food, I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

three soybeans on green leaves on white background, two cut in half with pink hue interior

The soybeans containing porcine protein carry a pinkish hue, matching the colour of real pork meat. Credit: Moolec Science

The soybeans containing porcine protein carry a pinkish hue, matching the colour of real pork meat. Credit: Moolec Science

Amit Dhingra, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of Moolec Science added: “This achievement opens up a precedent for the entire scientific community that is looking to achieve high
levels of protein expression in seeds via Molecular Farming.

“Moolec has developed a unique, successful, and patentable platform for the expression of highly valuable proteins in the seeds of economically important crops such as soybeans. This platform has the potential to be used across a wide variety of proteins of interest for a broad range of industries, such as the pharma, cosmetic, diagnostic reagents, and other food industries.”

Founded in 2020, Moolec Science has been working for several years to develop meat proteins in plants, which can be used to improve the taste, texture, appearance, and nutritional profile of meat alternatives. In addition to soybean, it is figuring out ways to grow animal protein in safflower and pea. It says the enhanced functionality of plants means they could potentially be used for applications in the traditional meat processing industry.

In 2021, the company partnered with Grupo Insud, a global conglomerate focussing on innovation, sustainability, and development within several industries for agribusiness. The collaboration intends to push the research and development of solutions for the alternative proteins industry.  

Moolec Science currently operates in Europe, the United States and South America.

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