Real Vegan Cheese

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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:

  • Biology
    • 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
  • Safety
    • 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.
  • Patents
    • We plan to patent and abandon to keep this technology free for everyone
  • Education
    • Providing hands-on lab training.

Contents

Getting involved

Here are some different ways to get involved:

Project pages

Shared files

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 info@counterculturelabs.org.

NOTE: When connecting with the seafile software, you need to specify https://files.counterculturelabs.org/ as the server.

Mailing list

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.

Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes

For older meeting notes, click here

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