New Zealand’s Daisy Lab Successfully Scales Animal-Identical Whey Paving the Way for a New Dairy Industry

New Zealand’s Daisy Lab, a precision fermentation biotech, announces a scaling milestone: successfully manufacturing animal-identical whey proteins in 10 L fermenters. 

In addition, Daisy Lab says that it has established the complete production process to create a final product, a whey protein powder. 

“We’ve successfully executed the process from start to finish, resulting in powdered whey protein”  

Established in 2021 to produce novel dairy proteins, the female-founded startup has achieved remarkable progress in slightly over a year. The team discovered three whey protein expression systems using yeast and has raised $1.5 million to scale its production. 

“We’ve successfully executed the process from start to finish, resulting in powdered whey protein that has undergone rigorous external testing. This accomplishment empowers us to delve into the creation of innovative edible product prototypes,” comments Irina Miller, Daisy Lab’s co-founder and CEO.

Daisy Lab revolutionizes dairy protein manufacturing with successful scaling milestone
Image courtesy of Daisy Lab

Novel dairy for New Zealand

Daisy Lab also announces that its fermentation platform can produce 10g  of protein per liter of the growth medium, surpassing its initial goal of 3 grams. Such a high protein content allows the biotech to use the same ultrafiltration, diafiltration, and equipment used in traditional dairy to make its protein powder. 

New Zealand‘s long trajectory in dairy processing allows for an easier transition to the much-needed alternative methods to produce milk and dairy products. Around half of the country’s emissions are attributed to animal agriculture, including the dairy industry, explains Daisy Lab.

“Our focus remains on continuing to increase the yield, aspiring to reach up to 20 or potentially 30 grams per litre in the not-so-distant future,” comments Emily McIsaac, co-founder and COO of the biotech.

To find solutions to other proteins found in cow’s milk, the company has been researching casein using a grant from Callaghan Innovation. And more recently, lactoferrin, a high-value milk protein used in nutritional formulations, including baby formula and sports supplements. 

“In November last year, we successfully expressed lactoferrin in our laboratory and are already generating more lactoferrin than a cow. Our next phase involves scaling this process within our fermenters over the next 12 months as well as raising additional funds to build a pilot plant,” adds Miller.

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