Global minerals company ICL has announced that ICL Food Specialties has joined forces with Protera Biosciences, an AI-driven foodtech start-up of novel proteins, involved in developing sustainably protein-based ingredients for food manufacturers. The partnership follows on from ICL’s 2021 investment in Protera via ICL Planet Startup Hub which ICL uses to invest in and collaborate with innovative companies in foodtech and agri-tech on a global basis.
Through the partnership ICL and Protera will develop and commercialise sustainable, protein-based ingredients using precision fermentation. As clean label ingredients, they will address market demands and offer a replacement for chemical additives. Thy are also designed to improve sensory properties in plant-based food applications.
Protera’s protera guard, for instance, is a food ingredient developed to extend the shelf life of packaged bread and allows industrial bakers to replace chemical additives, to keep up with demand for natural and clean label ingredients.
Protera also has a deep-learning platform, madi, which can predict and match the structure of vegetable proteins. It designs proteins from a database of more than 1.5 billion edible protein sequences and utilises fermentation parameters for producing them.
The platform also enables the discovery of plant-based proteins which can be used to replace texturisers, stabilisers and preservatives. Streamlining plant protein development and its production makes the replacement of animal proteins easier.
“Thanks to this collaboration, we can offer novel ingredients via breakthrough technology currently not available in the market,” said Hadar Sutovsky, ICL Vice President of External Innovation and General Manager of ICL Planet. “Once these functional ingredients are launched, food manufacturers will be able to speed up development of clean-label and sustainable plant-based products.”
“We’ll soon be able to provide global market access to these ingredients for key food producers, in a sustainable manner,” added Rado Sporka, Vice President of the Food Specialties Commercial Business for ICL. “This will further diversify and strengthen ICL’s engagement and offerings in the alternative proteins space and accelerate impactful solutions for global environmental challenges.”
Research teams for the two companies are working on the development of protein-based ingredients and through the partnership will be able to scale up production once the ingredients are ready for commercialisation.
“We are excited about this collaboration with ICL Food Specialties to bring new proteins to market,” concluded Leonardo Alvarez, Founder and CEO of Protera. “Combining the forces of our two companies will dramatically accelerate our vision of using biology to create protein-based ingredients. We already are validating functional targets in the lab, with unprecedented speed and accuracy.”
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