“Replace the whole cow”: Aleph Farms pioneers cell-based collagen production
The Israeli cultured meat firm leads movement away from animal livestock reliance
17 Mar 2022 --- Cultured beef steak innovator Aleph Farms is scaling its product line to include a unique platform for cell-based collagen production. The food-tech player’s patented cultivated collagen offers attributes of natural animal-based collagen that are “unmatched by plant-based or fermented recombinant-based alternatives.”
“Right now, the production of our cell-cultured collagen is in the R&D phase and will be transitioned to the pilot production phase in the next two years,” Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“The cellular agriculture industry has made greater promises to replace a large part of intensive animal farming practices, which make up to 70% of the global meat production. Cultivated meat, however, is only part of that solution as meat represents just 30-35% of the cow that is slaughtered. The rest include many other valuable by-products,” he highlights.
“To achieve our vision, we need to provide alternatives to the other animal parts as well, such as these collagen-based products.”
Removing slaughter from the equation
Conventional collagen is produced by boiling and processing cow’s hides and bones, and is widely used in a range of industries. Given its ubiquitous demand, sustainable alternatives to its sourcing and production are much needed.
research center focused on the development of new technologies and products for eventual commercialization.Aleph Frontiers is the division of Aleph Farms’
Aleph Farm’s cell-based collagen is the first product to emerge from the company’s newly revealed incubator, following 18 months of research by an expert team in “stealth mode.”
“Focusing on single categories of animal products does not account for the complexity of the animal agriculture ecosystem,” Toubia argues.
“The protein transition should rely on a systems-based approach to successfully contribute to a comprehensive, just and inclusive meat sector transition.”
Other food-tech pioneers that have channeled funds into R&D to scale up animal-free collagen include Jellatech, which raised US$2 million in its pre-seed funding round last year.
This latest announcement follows Aleph Farm’s expansion to its new cultured-beef steaks pilot production plant. The food-tech ringleader is currently preparing a watershed space mission for its space program, Aleph Zero, having recently nailed Hollywood A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio as one of its key investors.
“We are leveraging key components from our production method for steaks – including our bovine cell sources and animal component-free growth medium – to produce several nature-identical collagen types directly from cow cells, as well as the entire extracellular matrix, which comprises a variety of fiber-forming proteins and represents the complete matrix of skin, bones and joints.”
“For context, in our production facility in Israel, we’ll be able to produce around 10 metric tons of steaks per year. As we scale up our production and manufacturing globally, we will be able to produce thousands of tons of meat per year.”
The cell-based train doesn’t stop at collagen and steak; the nascent food technology has also yielded advancements in cultured milk and moves toward beeless honey.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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