Pure bites

Two very innovative German companies, the biotech startup MicroHarvest and plant-based dog food producer VEGDOG, have partnered to introduce a dog treat crafted from a sustainable ingredient: microbial proteins from biomass fermentation. 

While other pet food products have utilised microbes like yeasts and mycelium, MicroHarvest’s first-of-its-kind protein is derived from bacteria that have been consumed by humans for centuries in foods such as kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut, according to the announcement in April 2024. 

Combining the microbial protein with potato and apple pomace, the innovation — VEGDOG Pure Bites — is said to be hypoallergenic, suitable for dogs with protein intolerances and allergies, and recommended for use in veterinary practices.

Tessa Zaune-Figlar, founder and CEO of VEGDOG, comments, “Our goal at VEGDOG is to show dog owners that they do not have to rely on meat-based products to feed their pets. With this modern approach and our high-quality, healthy, and tasty products, we have been able to pioneer a completely new market.”

Tessa Zaune-Figlar, founder and CEO of wonderful sustainable company VEGDOG

Dogs and owners love it

This new bacteria-derived protein is said to be digestible, palatable, and highly nutritious, allowing VEGDOG to expand its V-Label award-winner portfolio

Dr. Carla Steffen, head of R&D at VEGDOG, explains: “At VEGDOG, we are constantly searching for innovative protein sources that benefit our dogs as well as our planet. It is of high importance to us to formulate our products based on scientific evidence. As the microbial protein of MicroHarvest is proven to be highly digestible, palatable and sustainable, it ticks all of these boxes.”

In addition, a palatability study by MicroHarvest found that dogs were 10% more likely to accept microbial protein treats than those made with poultry.  “Our ingredients were enthusiastically accepted by 85% of dogs trialed, while treats containing solely poultry meal had a 75% acceptance rate,” comments Ally Motta, Animal Nutritionist and Application Specialist at MicroHarvest.  

Meanwhile, another study conducted by the biotech in partnership with Wageningen University’s Master’s program found that 78.4% of British and German dog owners would consider buying pet food products made with sustainable microbial proteins.

We are excited that have these new Pure Bites will be stocked in the UK by JUST BE KIND DOG FOOD as soon as they are available.


We are excited that have these new Pure Bites will be stocked in the UK by JUST BE KIND DOG FOOD as soon as they are available

Scalable and more sustainable

According to MicroHarvest, its microbial ingredient footprint amounts to 1.4 kg CO2 equivalent per kilogram of product, giving it a sustainability advantage comparable to insect proteins and far exceeding that of plant-derived proteins: an estimated two to three times less CO2.

Moreover, the biomass is scalable and can be produced in just 24 hours while delivering over 60% protein. Ground into a powder, it offers multiple applications beyond pet food, including human foods and animal feed. This fermented protein can help address the global demand for proteins forecasted to grow 50% by 2050, says the German biotech.


Bioreactors making protein from Algae

What other inspiring innovations are taking place?

How very clever these researchers from Denmark are and we hope they achieve their aims quickly as amazing what they are doing!

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have found a way to make protein by using cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) as a “surrogate mother”.

In a new study, the scientists successfully used cyanobacteria to produce a protein with long, fibrous strands that resemble meat fibres. The process involved inserting foreign genes into the blue-green algae, which then became a host organism for the protein.

“We need to refine these organisms to produce more protein fibres, and in doing so, ‘hijack’ the cyanobacteria to work for us,” said Erik Jensen.

“It’s a bit like dairy cows, which we’ve hijacked to produce an insane amount of milk for us. Except here, we avoid any ethical considerations regarding animal welfare. We won’t reach our goal tomorrow because of a few metabolic challenges in the organism that we must learn to tackle. But we’re already in the process and I am certain that we can succeed. If so, this is the ultimate way to make protein.”

Read original article here.

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“Sustainability is a motherlode of innovation.” – Harvard Business Review

Delivering value with a new product and capturing value in return as with a profit without regard to environmental and sustainable impact is not innovation, it’s exploitation. Innovation is usually driven by necessity, with our backs up against the wall. It also often emerges from the bottom up, because those on the “frontlines” working directly with customers or clients have the best and most immediate insights into their needs and pain points.

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