UK start-up with operations in the US, Europe and Latin America uses plants as bioreactors and is tapping into the cheese market
:ab team analysing plants
Photo for illustration purposes only

Moolec Science is a newly formed agrifoodtech company consolidating a unique pipeline of projects and capabilities in the molecular farming space with more than a decade under development. The company was founded by a trio of science entrepreneurs – Gastón Paladini, Henk Hoogenkamp, and Martín Salinas.

“Our mission is to improve the affordability of animal-free solutions in favour of true sustainability,” said chief executive Paladini.

He argued Moolec promotes a technology that will have the cost structure of plant-based solutions with the organoleptic properties and functionality of cell-based platforms. “This approach is at least 10 times more cost-effective than leading alternatives.”

Chief product officer Hoogenkamp said molecular farming is a technology that has not yet been fully explored in the alternative proteins landscape. “Moolec will promote an inclusive and equitable technological platform as we aim to bring farmers back into the equation.”

Focus on cheese

With a proof of concept for the cheese market, the team is known for being the first to produce bovine chymosin from safflower, a functional protein commercialised under the SPC brand.

A family of international patents currently covers this platform, with SPC events fully de-regulated for cost-effective large-scale production.

“We use plants as bioreactors”, said chief technology officer Salinas. “Our experience and scientific background made us conclude that we could take advantage of nature’s biological systems to design a resource-efficient alternative protein production platform.”

Currently, the company is consolidating different research lines to produce unique blends of highly functional proteins from bovine and porcine origins in protein-rich crops such as soybean and peas, creating a new generation of meat analogues.

Moolec’s main and initial focus is on food technologies, although molecular farming solutions can also target industries such as health, biomaterials, and biocosmetics.

Moolec Science is run by a diverse team with operations in the US, Europe, and South America. It has the support and financial backing of various investors, including Bioceres Ventures and Union Group.

Date published: 6 November 2020

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