How can biotech help with ingredient-sourcing?
You can grow your ingredients instead of extracting them. Instead of employing smokestack buildings that require temperature, pressure and heat, you can ferment your ingredients just like you can brew beer in these microbial little factories.
Biotechnology also enables us to access natural molecules that were previously inaccessible. Think about every natural molecule that exists on this planet, for example. Now the industry is limiting itself to this tiny pizza slice of plants, but biotechnology enables us to access much more, and in an ethical and sustainable manner. It’s very exciting to think about what types of new product functionality we can access or what types of product stories and experiences we can create. Biotechnology is a whole new creative tool.
Can you give us an example?
A great example is around sunscreens. Right now, sunscreens can be either physical or chemical blockers. But in nature there are certain types of marine life that can naturally shield UV light. When fish lay their eggs, for example, they have protective molecules to filter out UV light so that the eggs stay intact. While the conventional ingredient-making method would involve extracting from the fish or fish eggs to develop the UV-protecting formula, this would be unethical and it wouldn’t be scalable. Using biotechnology, however, we can read nature’s DNA, put the genetic code into our brewer’s yeast and replicate UV-filtering properties from the natural world.
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