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.

Getting involved

Here are some different ways to get involved:

Project topics