Consumer industry becomes hotbed for synthetic biology applications, says GlobalData

Synthetic biology has evolved over the last two decades to revolutionize healthcare with notable contributions in therapeutics, diagnostics, and drug discovery. Now, it finds a host of applications in the consumer industry to support the growing attention towards health and the environment, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Kiran Raj, Principal Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The shift in the consumer interest towards scientifically backed and socially conscious ingredients lays the foundation for consumer businesses to explore synthetic biology. Advances in technologies such as DNA synthesis, microbial engineering, and data tools are enabling the launch of eco-friendly products like alternative proteins, animal-free collagen, and leather substitutes.”

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Engineering Microorganisms into Powerful Micromachines: Can Synthetic Biology Foster Bio Revolution?’, highlights the synthetic biology-powered innovations of various consumer companies to develop sustainable products.

Food

California startup Upside Foods uses genetic engineering to immortalize chicken cells that are collected painlessly from the animal and progress their cell division to synthesize alternative proteins with less water and land, alongside negligible emissions. US food giant Tyson Foods has a stake in the startup to create cell-based meat products.

Cosmetics

US startup Geltor uses plant-based bacterial fermentation to produce animal-free collagen substitutes. Its HumaColl21 is a commercial human Type 21 collagen created with zero animal inputs for anti-aging cosmetic formulations. In August 2021, Canada’s new beauty brand Orora Skin Science has announced the launch of two products made with HumaColl21.

Fashion

US startup Bolt Threads designed a biobased leather Mylo from the vegetative part of a fungus called mycelium. The complex latticework of biofibers makes Mylo soft and less harmful to the environment. The startup has collaborated with eminent fashion houses like Adidas and Lululemon to replace animal-derived leather with its alternative.

Mr. Raj concludes: “The future of synthetic biology will open up new possibilities in the consumer area. Tech-driven multifaceted ingredients, for instance, are expected to bring new synergistic products like functional foods and self-healing fabrics. When all is said and done, it remains critical to keep ingredients obtained from synthetic biology away from non-GMO claimed and labeled items.”

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