• CSIRO principal research scientist Joe Liu discussed precision fermentation.
    CSIRO principal research scientist Joe Liu discussed precision fermentation.

On Day Two of foodpro, CSIRO principal research scientist Joe Liu discussed precision fermentation and provided an overview of the technology and the challenges and possible solutions in the food industry to adopt the technology.

Precision fermentation, also known as microbial fermentation, is a rapidly growing technology in the food industry. It involves using microorganisms to produce various food and beverage products, providing complementary protein in a way that is sustainable and efficient.

Like many novel technologies, Liu says precision fermentation is not without its challenges to break into the commercial world.

Globally there are 62 precision fermentation companies, most are based in the US, and only three are in Australia.

Liu said scaling up was the biggest challenge for the technology in Australia, closely followed by regulatory processes.

“Of course, products need to go through regulatory approval so they can be put on shelves. We need to know how to deploy this technology into society and industry responsibly, as we are working with GMO technology, a highly inter-disciplinary field.

“When it comes to scaling up – that is the biggest challenge globally. However, in Australia there is an ecosystem of scale-up infrastructure forming here,” said Liu.

Liu says this ecosystem consists of facilities like CSIRO’s Food Innovation Centre in Werribee), where it is planning to precision fermentation pilot plant with a 400 litre fermentation scale.

Liu says the next steps for the industry are ‘putting the pieces together’.

“We have the science, and we can engineer molecules and design bio processing; we have the infrastructure and are building up and upgrading our existing facilities, and are working very hard to attract foreign investment,” said Liu.

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