The environmental benefits of lab-made dairy products

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The key components in dairy products can be made in a laboratory with a much lower environmental footprint than conventional dairy products, according to an analysis by lab-made dairy startup Perfect Day.

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why it matters: Cows – and the methane they produce – are a major contributor to the dairy sector’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Taking them out of the equation can be a net environmental positive.
  • Alternative methods that use fermentation to produce dairy proteins can significantly reduce the environmental costs of milk, cheese and ice cream.

By numbers: In a study previously released to Nerdshala, independent researchers tapped by Perfect Day found that the company’s process produces more than 90% of greenhouse gases, requires 20% to 60% less energy, and 96% less water is used per kilogram of protein. for traditional bovine dairy protein.

  • “This suggests that fermentation could open up a more efficient way to make food, which is in high demand for humans,” says Ryan Pandya, co-founder and CEO of Perfect Day.
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how it works: Perfect Day links the cow’s genes to a strain of fungus called trichoderma reesi, then in the fermentation tank with sugar promotes their growth.

  • The fungus extracts a mixture of dairy proteins such as casein and whey that are molecularly similar to those found in cow’s milk.
  • The company then combines water and plant-based fats to produce dairy products – which include a line of ice cream Called Brave Robot – it says the flavor and nutritional profile of traditional ice cream are similar.

Between the lines: Perfect Day’s small environmental footprint stems largely from the fact that “the real biology used in the fermentation process is much more efficient than the production of dairy products through cows”, says Pandya.

  • “We are not using the input of this process to manufacture the body parts of the cow.”
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of note: The life cycle analysis was commissioned by Perfect Day, and was not peer-reviewed, although Pandya noted that it was reviewed by a panel of three independent outside experts.

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