A startup is using microorganisms to create human milk proteins for use in baby formula and nutritional supplements
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Spotted: For some time, fermentation has been used to produce pharmaceuticals like insulin and vitamins. Now, however, Portuguese startup PFx Biotech has developed a process for producing human milk proteins. The company says that its milk is genetically identical to human breast milk.
To create the milk proteins, PFx inserts the genetic information for human milk proteins into microorganisms. These are then placed in bio-reactor tanks and supplied with nutrients, where they grow and naturally produce the milk proteins. They are then purified and formulated into a fine protein powder that can be used in a variety of applications.
The next step for PFx Biotech is to commercialise its bioactive and functional human milk proteins for use as alternative protein sources in paediatric care and advanced nutrition. The company suggests that, in addition to children, the proteins could be used to improve protein uptake in the diets of the elderly and in sports nutrition.
Fermentation is increasingly being used to produce new proteins across an array of industries. In the archive, Springwise has recently spotted innovations such as the use of microorganisms for soil enhancement and the creation of plant proteins from brewing waste.
Written By: Lisa Magloff