A collection of icons reffering to alternative proteins
Enabling #futurefood

Precision Fermentation –
a bio-based route to alternative protein

Nutrition in industrialized countries will move away from meat and dairy consumption towards alternative sources of protein and foods. These will rely on plants, microorganisms and cell cultures. Biotechnology will be the key enabler. This is where we come in.

In order to feed 9.8 billion people by 2050, predictions say that we will need to produce an additional 250 million tons of protein per year. Food protein in affluent societies is largely sourced from farmed animals and from fish wild catches. Global industrial livestock farming has a significant GHG footprint, may be considered unethical and contributes to the global antibiotics crisis. Fishing grounds are being depleted. Energy, water and land use is threatening biodiversity and the global climate.

The protein for future nutrition needs to be produced differently and microbes are set to take center stage in this context.

The intentional microbial fermentation of foods is one of mankind’s oldest cultural achievements. Modern biotechnology opens avenues to expand the use of microorganisms on an unprecedented scale to help build sustainable systems for healthy food production.

Contact our expert
Patrick Lorenz

Dr Patrick Lorenz

is our expert in the field of alternative proteins

View his profile

Six categories to enable #futurefood

No matter how you plan to change the future of food for the better – we can help you navigate the options in the alternative proteins landscape.
As experts in microbial fermentation and molecular and genetic engineering we can assist you in many of these fields.

Precision fermentation

We harness the power of microorganisms

We harness the power of microorganisms to produce proteins that provide the desired nutrients and functionalities. Precisely developed microorganisms that are cultivated in fermenters have the potential to produce any selected protein, of elusive origin, particular composition or desirable functionality, to an outstanding degree of purity.

Single cell protein

Whole microbial cells

Whole microbial cells are grown for their nutritious content and the added value of texture and fiber. The entire biomass from fungi, yeast or algae cultures is processed into a foodstuff.

Fermented food

An ancient human practice

An ancient human practice of preparing nutritionally enriched, healthy foods – renewed consumer interest and food designer creativity have triggered a wave of new options for fermented foods. Innovations may involve unconventional plant substrates and capable microbes to create bouquets of natural, healthy and tasty ingredients.

Plant proteins

Plants are central to human nutrition

Plants are central to human nutrition in most geographies. Isolated plant proteins are recognized for their bulk availability and functionality. State of the art thermo-mechanical extrusion combined with clever formulation transforms plant proteins to recreate fibrous meat textures or dairy mouthfeels. Enzymes can be used to support protein extraction efficiency from plant crops and support solubility and flavor formation.

Clean meat

Grown from animal-derived stem cells

Grown from animal-derived stem cells that are differentiated and propagated in sterile media, muscle and fat tissue can be grown outside the animal. Assembled on edible scaffolds or 3D-printed into appealing shapes, this can recreate desirable and realistic whole cuts of “meat”.


A staple food in certain parts of the world

A staple food in certain parts of the world, yet less attractive in others, some modest species of insect have been turned into bulk sources of protein-rich foods that are easy to grow and propagate on an industrial scale.

The promise of precision fermentation


Nature’s universal genetic code provides for almost any desirable natural or designed protein to be produced by a microbial host.


Proteins may be desirable and selected as a valuable food ingredient e.g. for their nutritional benefit, functionality or due to their unusual or exotic origin.


Endowed with the power to grow exponentially and secrete proteins into the growth medium, our microbial production host platforms are the foundation for economical protein production.


Confined to fermenters with growth media microbes can be geared towards precise fermentation anytime and anywhere – no seasonality involved. It just takes a supply of water energy and organic nutrients.


Precision Fermentation offers selected components to create healthier foods. Less animal mass production means less antibiotics. It can also mean improved quality of life of fewer animals yielding higher quality products.


The environmental footprint of precise fermentation and plant-based protein foods looks to be far smaller than that depending on traditional crop-to-feed-to-animal food chains.

Three protein structures

Three examples of precision fermentation

To demonstrate the power and versatility of the precision fermentation approach, we used microbial fermentation to produce three model proteins of potential value for human nutrition.

Read our examples

Pick from our menu of solutions for your journey along the value chain

Our capabilities range from identifying attractive food protein targets to providing a matching production platform and taking this through process development to manufacturing at the multi-cube scale.

Wherever you are on this journey, we support you with a broad range of technologies and services to achieve your goals faster and with confidence.

Capable microbes

Bacteria, yeast and filamentous fungi are at hand to match the specific requirements of your target protein. Every platform has its individual merits and limitations in protein expression so a range of platforms is required to increase chances of finding a performing match for your target protein.

Microbial Strain Development

Comprehensive platform tuning

Moving from promising initial expression levels to becoming an economically viable proposition typically involves selective improvements of the platform specific to the target protein. Our comprehensive genetic toolboxes for our platforms and proprietary genome editing technology open up avenues for pushing strain performance to the next level.

We CRISPR for you

Process development

Microorganisms are cultivated in fermentations or precision fermentations in liquid media and large steel tanks. Process development is required to adapt fermentation conditions from lab-scale volumes to multi-cube industrial vessels. This is a powerful discipline of its own, critical to achieving the required production economies.

Bioprocess Development


Protein production by precision fermentation may be performed at our ISO-certified commercial scale manufacturing plant, taken to a toll manufacturer or located at your facilities.

Customized Enzyme Development & Manufacture

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BRAIN Biotech AG publication
Cover of BRAIN Alternative Proteins presentation

Enabling #futurefood

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These companies of the BRAIN Group work jointly together to enable #futurefood:

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How to work with us

Benefit from our expertise and services:

Tailor-made Solutions (TMS)
Fit-for-purpose R&D collaboration for your outsourcing requirements

Let’s create and innovate together:

New Product Development (NPD)
Options to join forces in JVs by outlicencing technologies & resources

Validated products:

Product sales
The BRAIN Group’s enzyme product portfolio is already serving the Alternative Proteins industry.

Why work with us

  • Comprehensive genetic toolkit
  • Proprietary genome editing
  • Multiple angles of attack and diverse expertises offered to take you from proof of concept to industrial production
  • Multi-dimensional support to develop
    • Microbial food ingredients
    • Protein production platforms
    • Natural taste solutions
  • Different business models
  • Successful track record

“With BRAIN Biotech we share a passion for more sustainability in the food system. We are very glad to have these experts in precision fermentation on board to help us optimize our production yields for animal-free milk proteins.”

Raffael Wohlgensinger
Founder and CEO at FORMO

Strategic partnership of BRAIN Biotech and Formo for the production of animal-free milk protein

Are you looking for support in making #FutureFood a reality?

Tap into the competencies and resources of the BRAIN Group! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our expert for alternative proteins is Patrick Lorenz.

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