WATCH: Paleo talks animal-free myoglobin, regulatory challenges, and the ‘vegan’ alternative

Belgian start-up Paleo is leveraging precision fermentation know-how to make the heme-binding protein myoglobin (an iron-rich protein present in animal muscle) from yeast.

In creating animal-free myglobin that’s ‘similar’ to its typical counterpart, Paleo helps plant-based meat matrices look extra like meat, style extra like meat, and supply a dietary profile nearer to that of meat, Paleo co-founder and CEO Hermes Sanctorum explains.


Making animal-free myoglobin in a lab

Sanctorum’s determination to enter the animal-free protein house was pushed by ethics, having beforehand labored in politics on local weather change and animal welfare, he defined at FoodNavigator’s current Constructive Diet Summit in London.

“I need to lower animal struggling. And if you have a look at the globe, the place is animal struggling primarily occurring? It’s livestock. It’s the meat trade.”

In ‘strongly’ agreeing that meat consumption should lower, Sanctorum additionally believes this could solely be finished with adequate options to traditional animal supply merchandise.

“That’s the reason we make these animal proteins, this myoglobin, to extend the standard of meat and fish replacers.”

Diet is one space plant-based meat analogues are missing compared to the actual factor, the co-founder advised. Making certain adequate iron consumption amongst vegetarians and vegans could be a problem, he defined. “However the myoglobins that we make include [bioavailable] heme iron. You add it to plant-based meals, you resolve the iron difficulty…”

As as to if plant-based meat analogues might nonetheless be labelled ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ in the event that they contained Paleo’s myoglobin, Sanctorum mentioned that technically they may. “There isn’t any animal concerned in any way, it’s completely animal-free.”

The street to commercialisation

Paleo is presently manufacturing its animal-free myoglobin, however has not but achieved commercialisation. “We’re scaling up,” ​he informed this publication. At present making it in ‘smaller’ volumes, the start-up is working in direction of ‘very massive’ volumes, which is what might be required to disrupt the traditional meat market.

“If you happen to have a look at the meals trade, you don’t want kilograms. You want many tonnes,” ​Sanctorum defined.

However the know-how facet of issues will not be the ‘main’ problem. “We’re getting there and it’s straight ahead, it’s science.” ​Neither is it industrial traction, which Sanctorum described as ‘enormous’.

The first hurdle lies in regulation, in response to the Paleo CEO. “That’s a human issue. It’s a little bit of a black field. European procedures are powerful. I consider, once more, that we’ll get there ultimately, nevertheless it extra [a question of] time. It can take time earlier than we get to European market authorisation, and that’s why at the same time as a European start-up, we’re a bit compelled to begin elsewhere.”

Watch the video for our full interview with co-founder and CEO of Paleo, Hermes Sanctorum, at FoodNavigator’s Constructive Diet Summit 2023.