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
- Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Become an active participant by joining a Working Group
- Add to this wiki.
- Experiments started January 2016
- 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
We use Seafile to share files. You can use the web interface to access our public files here:
Unfortunately many of our files are not public since most of the relevant scientific articles use closed licenses that don't allow us to share them publicly.
If you want to collaborate on this project and get access to our private files, you probably want to install the Seafile app (get version 2.1.x) and request an account from email@example.com.
NOTE: When connecting with the seafile software, you need to specify https://files.counterculturelabs.org/ as the server.
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