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.
- Check out our website at realvegancheese.org.
- Read our Blog Posts about this project.
The main challenges include:
- Find all the nitty-gritty on how we engineer our host organism to produce cheese proteins in our pages on molecular biology, cloning strategy, gBlock design, plasmid design, Yeast Transformation.
- Getting the major casein proteins expressed, and ideally secreted.
- Achieving a high level of expression.
- Ensuring any necessary post-translational modifications take place.
- Cost-efficient protein purification.
- Stable micelle-formation.
- Finding suitable alternative fats.
- Finding suitable alternative sugars.
- Can we achieve the same flavor and aroma profile using the traditional cheese ripening bacterial cultures?
- Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications
- Can we produce this cheese in a way that is (a) better for the environment, and (b) economically feasible? Check our page on Life Cycle Assessments and Techno-Economic Analyses
- 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.
- Check out the Community Biology Safety Handbook, edited with help from some of our members.
- 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.
- Check out our Educational Videos about many parts of the process!
So, you want to join the Real Vegan Cheese project? - Orientation for new folks - September 2022 blog post.
Here are some different ways to get involved:
- Go to one of our Monday evening working meetings 7pm PST:
- Read our Introductory mini-textbook (work in progress)
- Get on one or more of our mailing lists
- Help fund the project
- Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Add to this wiki.
- Cheese making
- Existing vegan cheeses
- Experiments started January 2016
- External communications
- Finances - Incoming monies, purchases, etc.
- Health effects: allergy and cancer link
- How to take notes and record data
- Media - Articles written about us
- Product viability
- Narwhal Cheese!
- Questions and answers
- Service and reagent providers - Sequencing, synthesis, enzymes, etc.
- Shared Laboratory Notebook
- Similar projects - Other people doing similar stuff
- Video - Video and audio documentation, teleconferencing and live-streaming