1: shara ticku had the idea to create an alternative to palm oil 10 years ago due to the unhealthy air caused by indonesian farmers burning the rainforest for palm oil and other crops. recently, c16 biosciences released a lab-grown alternative to palm oil created from yeast cells. the palm oil industry is worth $62.3bn and is expected to increase to $75.7bn by 2028. c16 biosciences was founded in 2018 and was backed by multi-million dollar funding from microsoft founder bill gates.
2: c16 biosciences has developed palmless, a strain of yeast that produces an oil with similar properties to palm oil, grown on sugar cane plants. chris chuck and his team have created a yeast-sourced alternative called metschnikowia pulcherrima or mp for short. the lab-developed alternatives could prove to be a useful tool in combating climate change, biodiversity loss and food insecurity.
3: oil palms produce about 5,000 kg of oil per hectare per year, while other edible oils such as rapeseed and soybean produce 1,000 kg and 400 kg, respectively. mp is said to be hardy and not fussy what it eats, able to be fed on grass and food waste. the left over yeast cell biomass can be used to create a substitute for soya protein. 500,000-litre bioreactors could be used to produce the yeast and give palm oil a run for its money. prof chuck believes that the mounds of oil produced globally provide space for everyone to make a contribution. c16 biosciences is actively collaborating on partnerships in the beauty and home categories and plans to enter into food in 2024.