Chilean food-tech start-up NotCo uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify the optimum combinations of plant proteins when creating vegan alternatives to animal-based food products. The company, set up in 2015, has attracted investment from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Future Positive, a US investment fund founded by Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter. NotCo's machine learning algorithm compares the molecular structure of dairy or meat products to plant sources, searching for proteins with similar molecular components. NotCo has a database containing over 400,000 different plants, including macronutrient breakdown and chemical composition. These factors are used to predict novel food combinations with the target flavour, texture, and functionality.
A Swiss fragrance company is counting on artificial intelligence to help it perfect the plant-based burger. Firmenich, one of the world's leading flavor manufacturers, says recreating the sensation of beef relies not only on flavor, texture and color, but also on how it responds to cooking and the way it feels in the mouth. 'Finding a protein that resembles meat from a vegetable protein is highly complex,' Emmanuel Butstraen, head of Firmenich's flavors unit, told AFP. One of the toughest challenges is avoiding an unpleasant aftertaste--pea proteins tend to release bitterness, which the taste buds are quick to pick up, Butstraen noted. Vegetable proteins can give off hints of green apples or pears, an aftertaste of beans, bitterness or sourness, or even a feeling of dryness, said Jerome Barra, the company's innovation director.
Bill Gates made headlines earlier this year for saying that "all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef" in an interview with MIT Technology Review about the release of his new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. Although he recognized the political difficulty of telling Americans they can't eat any more red meat, Gates said he sees real potential in plant-based alternatives from companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Nevertheless, the world is expected to eat more meat in 2021 than ever before. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization projects that global meat consumption will rise by more than 1% this year. The fastest growth will occur in low- and middle-income countries, where incomes are steadily climbing.
Biotechnology in itself is an extremely diverse field that engages itself in various exploration concerning the living organisms on the surface of the planet. When artificial intelligence is combined with biotechnology, the mundane process is evaded by the advanced applications empowered by artificial intelligence. Healthtech derives immense benefits from the applications of biotechnology that are entitled to pharmaceuticals. Thus, AI in biotechnology is expanding the opportunities awaiting the pharmaceuticals industry. Artificial intelligence has facilitated an advanced level of research in the field of biotechnology by improving the quality by 10 times.
As the world's human population continues to grow, the question of how we're going to meet the protein needs of the planet is rapidly becoming the biggest challenge of our time. It's no secret that the developed world is obsessed with protein, with the average person in the U.S. consuming 103 grams per day, around double the actual recommended amount, two-thirds of which comes from animal sources. On the other hand, animal protein consumption is on the rise in developing countries like China and India because of rising incomes and improved quality of life. Forecasts suggest that in a few decades, developing countries' consumption of animal protein will reach the current levels of the developed world. But what most people don't realize is the tremendous cost producing animal protein has on the planet.