This Week in Australia’s Cell Ag Sector: Cauldron Ferm and QUT Lead Efforts to Scale Precision Fermentation Production – vegconomist

We are covering this week’s developments in Australia’s cellular agriculture ecosystem, with Cauldron Ferm and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) leading efforts to establish a global infrastructure for scaling up precision fermentation production for the Asia-Pacific region.

Cauldron Ferm Receives License to Produce Animal-Free Proteins at 10,000 L Scale

Precision fermentation company Cauldron Ferm announces that it has received a license from the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) to produce animal-free proteins at a 10,000 L scale.

The DIR200 license allows Cauldron to utilize its proprietary hyper-fermentation technology and Pichia Pastoris yeast to produce dairy, egg, and spider-silk proteins.

The OGTR, part of the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Aged Care, conducted the pertinent risk and management assessments, determining that Cauldron’s hyper-fermentation process is safe for the environment, staff, and community.

Cauldron Ferm CEO and co-founder Michele Stansfield comments, “This license significantly de-risks Australian-based precision fermentation technologies and Cauldron’s proprietary hyper-fermentation technology, giving Cauldron the confidence to rapidly erect fermentation facilities that achieve significantly lower cost of goods at a fraction of the capital expenditure.”

Precision fermentation ingredients company Cauldron - CEO Michele Stansfield
Michele Stansfield – Image courtesy of Cauldron

Unlocking precision fermentation ingredients

Founded in 2022 by Stansfield in Orange, New South Wales, Cauldron claims its continuous fermentation platform produces ingredients five times more efficiently than conventional methods.

The company, which raised AUD$ 10.5 million to scale its fermentation platform further last year, has announced plans to build Asia-Pacific’s largest network of precision fermentation facilities in regional Australia, leveraging the country’s raw materials while providing jobs.

The new license unlocks Cauldron’s large-scale capabilities to supply animal-free proteins for domestic and export markets. However, Food Standards Australia New Zealand must approve any novel ingredient before commercialization.

“Cauldron is the first in Australia to hold a licence of this nature at the 10,000-litre scale which unlocks production that all of our local synbio tech companies need to scale,” Stansfield adds.

 QUT Mackay Renewable to Biocommodities Pilot Plant (MRBPP)

QUT Mackay Pilot Plant Receives $3.9M Upgrade for Food-Grade Precision Fermentation Facility

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has announced a $3.9 million project to enhance the QUT Mackay Renewable to Biocommodities Pilot Plant (MRBPP) capabilities to produce precision fermentation ingredients.

The project, a co-investment with Australia’s Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA), is part of an overall $16 million upgrade to transform the pilot plant into a large-scale food-grade facility to bring products to market more quickly.

The FaBA investment aims to scale industry production and ensure the on-shore production of high-value food ingredients, according to the announcement.

“The industry is being severely constrained by a global lack of scale-up infrastructure”

Supported by the Australian and Queensland Governments through various programs, the project aims to boost the local economy, provide opportunities for the local workforce, and contribute to the growth of the biofuture sector in regional Queensland. 

Furthermore, the investment represents a significant step towards enhancing Australia’s ability to produce sustainable food ingredients for the Asia Pacific region.

“Australia has many of the ingredients for a successful precision fermentation ecosystem. However, while we have the expertise, regulatory and business environment, and position in the Asia-Pacific region, the industry is being severely constrained by a global lack of scale-up infrastructure, commented Professor Ian O’Hara, part of the QUT research team and developer of the MRBPP.

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