Real Vegan Cheese
The goal of this project is to make real vegan cheese by engineering normal baker's yeast (S. cerevisiae) to express milk protein (casein), purifying the protein, creating a milk-substitute by blending in vegan replacements for lactose and milkfat, and finally turning the resulting milk-substitute into semi-hard cheese like gouda using the normal cheese-making process. Watch a brief video about the project.
The main challenges include:
- Getting the major casein-proteins secreted.
- Achieving a high level of expression.
- Ensuring the required post-translational modifications take place.
- Cost-efficient protein purification.
- Stable micelle-formation.
- Finding a suitable milk-fat replacement.
- Finding a suitable lactose replacement
- Ethical and environmental impact studies
- A comparison between yeast bioreactors and dairy cows will be essential
- Ensuring a safe and responsible research environment is already a key goal of CCL and BioC, but we will have to field potential safety concerns specifically related to the Real Vegan Cheese project.
- Funding and spreading the word
- We have raised about $37,000 on indiegogo and the funding we raised is being used on developing the feasibility of producing Real Vegan Cheese from baker's yeast.
- We plan to patent and abandon to keep this technology free for everyone
- Providing hands-on lab training.
Here are some different ways to get involved:
- Read our Introductory mini-textbook (work in progress)
- Get on one or more of our mailing lists
- Go to one of our Monday evening working meetings (either in Oakland (Omni Commons) or South Bay depending on the week).
- Help fund the project
- Read the lab notes! (see the section below)
- Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Add to this wiki.
Current lab notes
- Shared Laboratory Notebook
- How to take notes and record data
- Questions and answers
- Molecular biology
- Cloning strategy
- gBlock design
- Yeast Transformation
- Protein Expression in Yeast
- Plasmid design
- Basics of cheese making
- Cheese making experiments
- Bacterial cultures
- Existing vegan cheeses
- Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications
- Health effects and cancer link
- Product viability
- Budget, planning and orders
- Wetware inventory
- External communications
- Service and reagent providers - Sequencing, synthesis, enzymes, etc.
- Video - Video and audio documentation, teleconferencing and live-streaming
- Finances - Incoming monies, purchases, etc.
- Media - Articles written about us
- Similar projects - Other people doing similar stuff
- Summary of paper on acid cheese firmness
- Experiments started January 2016
- Servers and services
The iGEM team has a mailing list but we're waiting for the admin to mark it as public so we can link it here.
For older meeting notes, click here