CANADA – Kalsec has entered into a framework agreement with a Canada-based biotechnology company, Willow Biosciences, to explore and commercialize a precision fermentation production process for high-volume applications, majorly in functional foods.

Michigan-based Kalsec produces natural spice and herb flavor extracts, colors, antioxidants, and advanced hop products for the food and beverage industry while Willow Biosciences develops and produces plant-derived ingredients for consumer care, food and beverage, and pharmaceutical products.

The master services agreement consists of Research and Development and scale-up phases, with Willow generating revenues from research fees and milestone payments. However, the companies anticipate entering into a license agreement to share in the economics of the delivered product.

Willow CEO Dr. Peter Seufer-Wasserthal said his company is pleased to add a new functional ingredient to its portfolio, highlighting the demand for its fully integrated FutureGrown technology platform.

Willow’s FutureGrown technology platform is a fully integrated solution for rapid strain engineering, process development, and scaled-up manufacturing that incorporates the latest technologies available for precision fermentation.

By working closely with their customers, the development team at Kalsec has identified multiple potential opportunities for innovation.

The partnership will leverage Kalsec’s expertise in natural product development with Willow’s fully integrated technology platform, in the research that will focus on the functional benefits of the S. cerevisiae fungus, also called brewer’s yeast, which includes improved expression and engineering of metabolic pathways.

This isn’t Kalsec’s first foray into the precision fermentation space. In August, the company linked up with Infinome Biosciences, a global producer of natural spice and herb extracts, to develop and commercialize multiple ingredient-producing microbes to be used in precision fermentation processes.

The use of precision fermentation is growing more prevalent, with researchers continuously scaling its potential to create classic animal-based products without the animal.

In this process, microbes are harnessed to act as microscopic “factories” that produce a wide range of specialized food protein constituents like cowless casein, authentic cheese, ice cream, milk, sweeteners, and designer fats.

According to MarketsandMarkets, the global precision fermentation market size is estimated to be valued at US$1.6 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach US$36.3 billion by 2030, recording a CAGR of 48.1% in terms of value.

Increasing demand for protein worldwide, changing consumer tastes and preferences, and rising investments and innovations are some factors that deepen the focus on the protein industry.

“Kalsec continually researches new technologies to enhance sustainability and efficiency in our production capabilities and enable the maturation of markets for natural products,” says Dr. Roger Nahas, executive vice president of global R&D and chief innovation officer.

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.