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Scientists create vegan ice-cream from genetically modified yeast

ANI | Updated: Jul 17, 2019 04:41 IST

California [USA], July 17 (ANI): Cool treats are a perfect way to fend off the summer temperatures and what else can be a better summer treat than having a delicious ice cream. But have you ever thought of having an ice-cream grown in a laboratory?
Yes, you heard that right! Now there is a lab-grown ice-cream, which is made from whey protein produced by genetically modified yeast rather than by cows. In fact, not a single cow is needed to create this brand-new snack, Vox reported.
As a part of an experiment carried out at Bay Area-based biotech startup Perfect Day, the ice-cream is the culmination of five years of collective work by the founders, Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, who are young vegan bioengineers.
The scientists wanted to create a product that is not only indistinguishable from cow-made dairy but also reduces animal suffering by steering the people away from factory farming. Besides this, the product also helps in fighting global warming by reducing the number of methane-producing cattle as well as the land required for grazing.
"Both of us happen to have a similar background of working in medicine, where therapeutics and medicines are made using basically fermentation already today," Vox quoted Pandya as saying in an interview with Fast Company.
"And so the two of us started scratching our heads and wondering, what if we just apply that same exact technology that's been around for half a century to make the world's most in-demand, highest-quality protein?" he added.
Unlike other traditional ice-creams, Perfect Day's ice-cream taste a little different as it has been made using whey and casein, the exact same proteins that give milk its unique texture and flavour. But here, the scientists gave a twist of genetically engineered yeast to produce those proteins without using even a single cell from real animals, a fact made sure to appeal to vegans.
Pandya and Gandhi claimed that as compared to the traditional means of producing protein, their way of making whey uses up to 98 per cent less water and 65 per cent less energy.
They further mentioned that their method for making nutritious and delicious protein can be applied anywhere, including in regions where a harsh climate makes dairy farming tricky.
According to Vox reports, Perfect Day so far has only a limited supply of the new ice cream but the company is focused on becoming a supplier of animal-free protein to big food manufacturers, in hopes that it will help to introduce the ingredient in the mainstream market.
The company which is already partnered with agribusiness giants such as ADM, has raised about $60 million in venture funding. (ANI)