Lower cost and more sustainable feedstocks essential for microbial fermentation to flourish, says Synthesis Capital after launching $300m food tech fund


The fund – with over $300m* in capital commitments – is anchored by private equity pioneer Jeremy Coller, through CPT Capital, with a cornerstone investment from Société Familiale d’Investissements, and will be deployed in around 15 companies globally, with an average check size of $15m.

Some of this capital may go to firms in the plant-based, single-cell, recombinant, and cultivated meat verticals. But equal emphasis will be placed on enabling technologies, from synthetic biology to bioprocess science, precision breeding and gene editing, Synthesis Capital co-founder and CSO Dr David Welch told FoodNavigator-USA.  

‘Just like we can’t rely on coconut fat for all plant-based meat products, we can’t rely on glucose to fuel every fermentation process…’

When it comes to microbial fermentation, for example, whereby firms are growing microbes such as fungi strains as protein-packed whole food sources (biomass), or using them as microscopic food factories to produce everything from ‘animal-free’ dairy proteins to flavors, colors and sweeteners (precision fermentation), “lower cost and more sustainable feedstocks are essential” ​if the segment is to “capture the market share predictions we see in market reports,” ​said Welch.

“Just like we can’t rely on coconut fat for all plant-based meat products, we can’t rely on glucose to fuel every fermentation process ​[most companies are currently using corn-derived feedstocks].

“The challenge is finding source materials that are straightforward to process into a feedstock that doesn’t significantly reduce fermentation efficiency or require complex bioreactor and purification systems. This is one reason I’m excited about our portfolio company Arkeon. Their archea platform uses CO2 as its primary carbon source and a simple retrofit of standard bioreactor to sparge in the CO2.



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