Biotech start-up Cirkulär is developing fermentation technologies to produce alternative proteins from the byproducts of processing plant crops, such as canola oil production. The Swedish company will first use the fermentation technology to produce the milk protein casein through the use of microorganisms, which can then be used to create cheese.

Eric Oste, Cirkulär’s co-founder and CEO, says the technology they are developing will create alternative proteins with a lesser impact on the environment than conventional animal protein production.

“Our technology will produce various types of proteins in order to reduce environmental impact. We started with casein protein to achieve the greatest benefits in the shortest time, given the impact of cheese consumption and the high volume of milk required for its production,” said Oste.

In a ranking of the greenhouse gasses emitted by producing various foods, cheese ranks high, trailing close behind beef, lamb and farmed prawns, according to University of Oxford research published in Science. Every kilogram of cheese produced results in 10 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions.

Cirkulär is using  technology similar to that developed through research by a fellow Swedish scientist at Malmö University who is developing a plant-based protein that will mimic casein in milk.

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