Ginkgo Bioworks and Phytolon Partnership Unlocks Full Yellow-to-Purple Spectrum in Natural Food Colors

Ginkgo Bioworks and Phytolon have announced the successful completion of the first development milestone in their partnership, unlocking the full color palette of the yellow-to-purple spectrum accessible for Phytolon’s natural food colors.

Phytolon’s natural betalain pigments, derived from foods like beets and cactus fruit, present a safe and sustainable alternative to synthetic dyes. With heightened scrutiny and bans on synthetic dyes, this new innovation aims to address growing regulatory concerns and consumer demand for nature-derived products.

“This achievement puts our colors at the forefront to efficiently replace artificial dyes in our food”

After being founded in 2018, Phytolon secured $4.1 million in 2020 to bring its fermented food colors to market, focusing on product development and refining its fermentation technology. The company has been actively seeking partnerships ever since to enhance its technology and expand its market reach. The partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks has significantly enhanced the efficiency of Phytolon’s yeast strains, ensuring the consistent and robust production of sustainable food colors via two producing strains.

© Phytolon

Tal Zeltzer, co-founder and CTO of Phytolon, commented on the milestone: “We are so excited to reach this key milestone with our partner, Ginkgo Bioworks. This achievement puts our colors at the forefront to efficiently replace artificial dyes in our food and create a healthy and sustainable world. Our clients are now able to explore high-performing natural colors in their brands, covering the full range from purple to pink, red, orange, and yellow shades.”

Enhancing Phytolon’s technology

This partnership, leveraging Ginkgo Bioworks’ cell programming and biosecurity platform and Phytolon’s expertise in producing natural food colorants, was initiated in 2022. The successful completion of this project’s first milestone enhances Phytolon’s market offering, while the existing agreement aims to achieve additional milestones that further increase production efficiency.

Kevin Madden, Senior Vice President of Commercialization at Ginkgo Bioworks, stated, “We are thrilled to see our collaboration with Phytolon accelerate, and we’re proud to be a driving force behind the realization of this milestone and the R&D breakthroughs it represents. […] As we celebrate this success, we look forward to sustaining this momentum to further enhance the performance of Phytolon’s products.”

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