Producing essential dairy proteins (casein and whey) through genetically modifying yeast so it can produce the same proteins as cows. This is done by 3D-printing cow genes with protein producing powers, and gene-editing yeast plasmids to include the gene. The plasmids are placed in a bioreactor tank where they’re fermented with nutrients to produce milk proteins. The yeast (and proteins) are purified so just proteins are left. These proteins are used as a base to produce dairy by-products (e.g. milk, cheese, butter) that taste the exact same as the products produced by cows. Proteins are essential to dairy, but using 2000-lb cows to make proteins is unsustainable. GM yeast to make dairy proteins uses 98% less water, 91% less land and 64% less energy than cows. Yeast to make proteins is sustainable and a better use of resources. As our population grows, we need better ways to make dairy because asking people to be vegan isn’t a solution. Yeast-made dairy is more sustainable and doesn’t compromise taste. Internet of things (IOT) sensors can also be used to monitor the production of proteins, produce more consistent proteins and improve the process. The process to create the proteins uses fermentation vessels (bioreactor tanks), plant-based nutrients to grow the proteins, iot sensors and yeast. This production’s similar to beer brewing, and requires a large laboratory. But it has the potential to change dairy forever. In this project I hope to test how IOT sensors can revolutionize this process, and to make it cheaper.
What inspired you (or your team)?
There are 264 million dairy cows in the world. Each of them are tortured to produce milk. But milk is so good and essential to human culture and food, it’s not something I’m willing to give up for the crappy alternatives available on the market today. I’ve tried veganism, and it just wasn’t good. This is a solution to all our dairy products. Making GOOD dairy that doesn’t take a lot of resources to produce. I’m inspired to change the agriculture industry for the better, so we can use earth’s resources intelligently.