North Carolina startup targets cultured collagen

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In North Carolina, a startup launched in November of last year to manufacture common animal products collagen and gelatin using cell culture. 

Collagen is extracted from the skin, tendons and bones of animals and used in everything from beauty products to cosmetic surgery. Gelatin is derived from collagen and widely used in food and cosmetics. 

Dubbed Jellatech, the company is currently working on bioreactor design and regulatory approvals. 

Head of science and cofounder Kylie van Deinsen-Hesp  told FoodNavigator-USA that lab-grown collagen and gelatin is easier to produce via cell culture than meat.  “We envision a continuous purification and purification process, so you just grow the cells to a certain density, and then harvest collagen continually from the cells,” said Deinsen-Hesp, adding that producing collagen via fermentation would be more difficult than from cell culture. Collagen is “not easy to engineer into a microbe,” she adds. “With a cell-based approach, we can really substitute animal-based collagen and create a truly functional animal-free collagen.”   

Because of COVID-19, Deinsen-Hesp has yet to meet cofounder Stephanie Michelson in person, LiveKindly.com reports.