Fermentation

TurtleTree Obtains First-Ever Self-GRAS Status for Precision Fermentation-Derived Lactoferrin

Singaporean biotech TurtleTree claims that it has obtained the world’s first self-GRAS status (generally recognized as safe) by the FDA for a precision fermentation-derived lactoferrin, making it also the first Singaporean company to obtain self-GRAS for a synbio protein.

This status confirms that TurtleTree’s animal-free lactoferrin is safe for human consumption, allowing the company to commercialize it in the USA. In May, the company unveiled the protein, branded under L+, claiming it as the world’s first animal-free lactoferrin.

TurtleTree announced that it will supply LF+ for infant formulas, plant-based dairy, and sports nutrition products, including protein powders, functional beverages, meal replacement alternatives, and multivitamins, expecting profitability in 2024. The biotech company also announced that multiple clients have shown interest in buying a $500 million value of animal-free lactoferrin over the next five years.

“Today’s achievement is a vital step in realizing our broader commercialization strategy and in democratizing access to milk’s most powerful ingredients,” shares Fengru Lin, TurtleTreeo-Founder and CEO. 

animal-free lactoferrin by TurtleTree
© TurtleTree

Bioactive ingredients for health

According to TurtleTree, lactoferrin is one of the most powerful proteins in cow’s milk. It provides benefits for human health, such as improved immunity, iron regulation, digestive health, and physical performance, including aiding endurance, fatigue resistance, muscle strength, and energetic efficiency.

“Bovine Lactoferrin is just the start”

The company explains that bovine lactoferrin, known as “pink gold” for its iron-rich pink hue and high value, retails between $700 to $1,500 per kg because it is difficult and expensive to source: it takes at least 10,000 liters of milk to extract just 1 kg of purified lactoferrin.

Over the years, TurtleTree has developed a platform to scale lactoferrin production, enabling it to meet the demand for this sought-after protein at more accessible prices without the environmental impact of animal livestock. The company claims it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 91% by eliminating high methane-emitting cows from the lactoferrin supply chain.

Singapore/ US based TurtleTree ready to commercialize Human Lactoferrin as first major product
©TurtleTree Labs

In 2021, TurtleTree raised $30 million to scale up the production of cell-based human milk ingredients and launched a subsidiary, Turtle Tree Science, to develop affordable food-grade growth factors for cell products. However, the company shifted to precision fermentation to pioneer animal-free proteins and bring revenues more quickly since cell-based products need longer development. The company currently operates at an R&D facility in West Sacramento, California.

“Bovine Lactoferrin is just the start. We see today’s achievement as a vital step in realizing our broader commercialization strategy and in enhancing access to milk’s most powerful ingredients. By fortifying products with bioactive ingredients like lactoferrin, we’re executing a crucial component of our overall plan to empower more people than ever before to enhance their health,” Lin adds.




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