Milk without the Cow. Eggs without the Chicken – Anthropoce


Milk without the Cow. Eggs without the Chicken

Yeast-derived “animal products” may soon be part of an environmentally balanced diet


By Lindsey Doermann

In 2008, the biotech industry had fallen on tough times: capital was drying up and businesses were struggling to survive. That’s when Ryan Bethencourt saw an opportunity. A biologist with an entrepreneurial streak, he and a couple of friends started buying equipment from bankrupt companies and setting up their own small labs. By 2013, he had co-founded Counter Culture Labs, a “biohacker” space in Oakland, California. There, DIY-biology enthusiasts are now working on, among other projects, making real cheese in a way that bypasses the cow.

Bethencourt is part of a growing group of scientists, entrepreneurs, and lab tinkerers who are forging a bold new food future—one without animals. But they’re not asking everyone to give up meat and dairy. Thanks to advances in synthetic biology, they’re developing ways to produce actual animal products—meat, milk, egg whites, gelatin—in the lab. And in doing so, they are shrinking the carbon footprint and slashing the land and water requirements of these goods with the goal of meeting the world’s growing protein needs more sustainably.

Microbes become factories that churn out the same substances that we now rely upon animals to produce.

Lab-grown meat has grabbed a lot of headlines in recent years. Dutch scientist Mark Post infamously produced the first lab-grown hamburger in 2013 to the tune of $325,000. But Post’s costs have since dropped precipitously, and one cultured-meat startup, Memphis Meats, has said it expects to have a product in stores by 2021.

However, this new food landscape extends well beyond meat. In the Oakland biohacker space, biologists, coders, and other volunteers with the Real Vegan Cheese project are figuring out how to produce the real thing, and they’re keeping their findings open-source. In the startup arena, Perfect Day is racing to get their cow-free milk to market, Clara Foods is creating egg whites without eggs, and Geltor is making gelatin in the lab. Bethencourt has supported these and other innovative food startups through IndieBio, an investment group and business accelerator he cofounded in 2014.

What all these projects have in common is that they’re harnessing the fermentation process to make animal protein. “We’ve been using that technology for thousands of years,” said Bethencourt in a recent talk. “Now we’re starting to get sophisticated with it.”

Producing animal protein in a lab looks like making beer, but with the help of a little synthetic biology. Scientists genetically modify yeast with a chunk of DNA that tells the microbe what protein to make. They then “brew” the yeast with nutrients in a bioreactor and isolate the resulting proteins. In other words, microbes become factories that churn out the same substances that we now rely upon sentient beings to produce.

In the case of Perfect Day, after isolating the yeast-derived cow’s milk protein, they add in nutrients—as well as plant-based sugars and fats—to achieve texture and flavor similar to those of milk from an udder. Unlike other milk substitutes, their milk doesn’t need starches, gums, and stabilizers, says company CEO Ryan Pandya, and it can be made into other higher-value products such as cheese and yogurt.

A preliminary life-cycle analysis of yeast-derived milk found that its production requires approximately two-thirds the amount of land and water that conventional milk production does.

Raising cows and other livestock to feed ourselves has led to a familiar host of environmental woes—CO2 and methane emissions, air and water pollution, considerable land requirements—not to mention animal-welfare transgressions and antibiotic resistance. At the same time, the demand for meat, dairy, and eggs continues to rise, particularly in developing countries.

A preliminary life-cycle analysis of yeast-derived milk found that its production requires approximately two-thirds the amount of land and water that conventional milk production does. And, assuming wind energy powers the bioreactors, yeast-derived milk beats conventional milk by about half in terms of fossil fuel depletion and global warming potential.

Of course, to reap these environmental benefits in any meaningful way will require a massive scaling effort. Bethencourt believes this will be possible within a decade. But the problem isn’t trivial. He sums up the crux of it in a deceptively simple question: “How efficiently can you turn a pound of sugar into a pound of the product you want?” The inputs to fermentation are essentially sugar water and yeast protein, but there’s still a lot of experimentation to be done to output proteins on a large scale. Some are just more difficult to make than others, says Kate Krueger, research director at New Harvest, a nonprofit that supports the science of cellular agriculture. “It’s really hard to tell what’s going to be hard to make until you try,” says Krueger. Companies are doing R&D as they go, and running a bioreactor is not cheap.

However, they’re moving toward cost-competitiveness. Perfect Day is tailoring its process so that it can work within standard industrial fermentation
facilities, according to Pandya. And Geltor is starting off by selling their gelatin products in the cosmetics industry, where a consistent, customizable product can command a premium, says company CEO Alexander Lorestani. They may explore pharmaceutical and food industry applications as their efficiency improves.

But efficiency is only one hurdle in the marketplace. The other is squeamishness. Cellular agriculture will be realized only if consumers accept the technology and its products. To those who wrinkle their noses at the idea of a yeast-based system to produce milk, Isha Datar, executive director of New Harvest, likes to remind us of the current system: “Today, milk is made by artificially inseminating a cow at 13 months of age, having it bear a calf nine months later, having the calf removed (to be made into veal), and then maintaining the cow in a lactating state for about two years. By age four, the dairy cow is culled for beef.”

Can we do better? Fermentation biotechnology has brought us cheese and yogurt. Now it could play a big part in feeding a growing world population while keeping agriculture’s environmental footprint in check. And that’s a mouth-watering prospect.


Lindsey Doermann is a freelance science writer based in Seattle, Washington

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Corn silage, not balage, better option for beef producers – Herald-Whig

Posted: Aug. 26, 2018 12:01 am

Farmers are looking to drought-stressed corn for silage and balage to stretch limited hay supplies.

But University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist Gene Schmitz said chopped corn silage offers beef producers better options than balage.

Silage allows better control of the amount of high-energy feed for wintering cattle, Schmitz said. Balage offers less flexibility and control of portion size.

“From a diet perspective, we generally limit corn silage for beef cows to somewhere between 20 to 60 percent of diet dry matter, depending upon the stage of production, body condition and energy content of the silage,” he said.

This prevents cattle from getting too fat and avoids unnecessary feeding costs.

“It’s almost impossible to limit-freed a bale of corn silage unless it is tub-ground and mixed with grass hay and/or other feed ingredients,” Schmitz said. “I think it is important to understand this limitation, especially if the silage is carrying some nitrate with it.”

Schmitz said the best silage is finely chopped and tightly packed to get rid of excess oxygen. Cover immediately to protect against the elements, which cause spoilage and nutrient loss. Chop corn when it is still green. Moisture levels must be high enough, generally 60 to 70 percent, for corn to ferment properly, but it should not be too high or it will become prone to seepage and bacteria.

Put silage on the ground, and pack from all sides to feed, he said. Avoid putting silage in a hay “bunker” made out of round bales. It is difficult to rid the silage of oxygen in uncovered bunkers made of bales. Using bale bunkers leads to inadequate packing, shifting of bales during packing and possible tractor rollovers.

More information is available in “Corn Silage,” a MU Extension publication available online at

?Food study

A new feasibility study and economic assessment will look at the extent Missouri agribusinesses will benefit from a focused effort to expand food, beverage and forest product processing capabilities.

The Missouri Agricultural Foundation, in collaboration with the college of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri, has received funding from the Missouri Value-Added Grant Program to look at the status of food, beverage and forest product manufacturing in the state.

The project, called the Show-Me-State Food, Beverage and Forest Product Manufacturing Initiative, has been championed by the foundation, an independent group that works in partnership with the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Study findings will be used to grow existing businesses in the state or attract multiple facilities to Missouri, CAFNR Vice Chancellor and Dean Christopher Daubert said. Through the support of this initiative and the involvement of Missouri stakeholders, the goal is to expand the economic impact of Missouri agriculture and agribusiness to $175 billion by 2030.

“To help Missouri agriculture achieve greater economic impact, we all know our commodities must be transformed, instate, to products that consumers desire,” Daubert said. “Food, beverage and forest product manufacturing can diversify and bring increased value to basic commodity production that occurs throughout rural Missouri.”

The study will be done by TEConomy Partners LLC, and a final report is expected in December.

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MilkSource Genetics capture Triple Crown with three cows of different breeds earning EX-97 – Wisconsin State Farmer

KAUKAUNA – Northeast Wisconsin’s MilkSource Genetics has achieved an unprecedented Triple Crown.

With the upgrading of Holstein Weeks Dundee Anika to the rare EX-97 classification, the family-owned show barn has reached the pinnacle score with cows from three major show breeds.

In 2014, the farm’s Blondin Redman Seisme became the first Red & White Holstein cow to achieve the milestone rating.

In February, another MSG cow, Musqie Iatola Martha, became the youngest Jersey in history to achieve the 97 score.

Now, Holstein Association USA has bestowed the landmark classification to Weeks Dundee Anika — a black-and-white Holstein.

“When Martha reached EX-97, I described it as ‘lighting striking twice.’ It was unforgettable,” said John Vosters, MilkSource Genetics partner. “But doing it again? There simply aren’t words to describe it.”

It is believed there are fewer than six cows living in North America with EX-97 scores and MilkSource Genetics is home to three of them.

MilkSource Genetics Partner Jim Ostrom notes the milestone moment solidifies Anika’s global reputation. “She is an impeccably proportioned mature cow,” he said. “Anika, now 6 years old, was a good cow when we bought her as a Junior 2-year-old and, since then, she has continued developing beautifully.

“Of all the cows we’ve been part of, she has been an industry favorite among people we respect as passionate cow enthusiasts. Anika is a rare animal with fans worldwide.”

Classification is based on a true-type scoring system. Anika — like Seisme and Martha before her — is as close to the ideal standards as possible. “Anika has a striking dairy frame like few others in the breed,” Vosters explained. “Her combination of dairyness, balance and strength makes her very unique. She has correct feet and legs, along with a firmly attached udder. She has had five offspring and is considered an aged cow.”

Bolstering her success, Anika also has transmitted her winning ways to offspring that have already begun making their mark in the show ring. For instance, Anika’s granddaughter, Milksource Dempsey Amour, just returned from the 2018 Wisconsin State Holstein Show as the Honorable Mention Junior Champion and 1st Place Winter Calf.

“Anika’s not only cemented her own legacy, but she’s passing on those great diary genetics to future generations,” Ostrom said.

Basking in her herdmate’s glow is another MilkSource Genetics’ cow, TK-Plainview-Ripley, which saw her own classification climb to EX-96 just days after being named Grand Champion of the State Show.

“Whether in the show ring or in the barn, cows don’t achieve results like this without the hands-on care and dedication of a great herd team,” Ostrom said. “Our manager Eddie Bue, his wife and partner-in-cow-care, Mandi, and their entire team work hard every day to bring out the best in these amazing animals. Their love for these cows is evident every day.”

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Maharashtra govt prepares draft bill, outlines role of proposed cow … – The Indian Express

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |

Published: August 25, 2018 4:05:00 am

Maharashtra govt prepares draft bill, outlines role of proposed cow commission Officials from the state animal husbandry department said the proposed commission, to be headed by the animal husbandry minister, would be a 23-member body, including government officials and representatives from NGOs. (File photo)

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The government has prepared a draft bill to set up a Maharashtra Cow Service Commission with a view to prevent illegal cow slaughter, increase the breeding of local cows through gaushalas and monitor the functioning of gaushalas in the state. Besides, the draft bill says, the commission should suggest schemes to the government for the setting up of industries to “generate power and bio-gas from cow milk, urine and dung”.

Officials from the state animal husbandry department said the proposed commission, to be headed by the animal husbandry minister, would be a 23-member body, including government officials and representatives from NGOs. “The commission would be responsible for protecting cows seized by the police on suspicion of being taken for slaughter and for initiating legal action against those involved in such acts,” said an official.

The official added that the commission would be tasked with ensuring effective implementation of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995 and The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. “The commission will have powers to impose a fine of Rs 50,000 for the first offence and Rs 1 lakh for the second offence for violations of the provisions of the bill under which it would be constituted,” said the official.

A senior official said the finance department has raised certain queries regarding the proposal, which was drafted late last year. “We will submit our response soon. The proposal will subsequently be presented to the state cabinet.”
Another official said the idea of such a commission was suggested after studying similar commissions functioning in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

“Apart from suggesting schemes to set up industries for generating power and biogas from cow milk, urine and dung, it will also coordinate with universities and research institutes to providing new scientific technologies and financial assistance to economically weaker gaushalas,” said the official.

The official added that it is proposed that the commission will work to increase the productivity of grazing land, to develop these and to encourage the breeding of local cows and milk production. “The gaushalas or any organisation working in the field will have to register themselves with the commission, which will monitor their work, carry out annual audits and can take action on complaints against these organisations. Overall, it will ensure the protection and development of cows in the state,” the official said.

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Milking it: Kiwi cows aren't what they used to be –

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Milking it: Kiwi cows aren't what they used to be
Today dairy scientists have worked out ingenious uses for whey such as lactose, which is one of the by-products that is now worth about $1.5 billion a year to the New Zealand dairy industry. Scottish settlers in Otago brought in the first ayrshire cow

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Negotiated Cull Cow Sales Up in July – Dairy Herd Management

Data from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service shows more cows than in recent years moving through markets for culls during July. Nearly all carcass grades (premium white, breaker, boner, and cutter) showed larger volumes compared to July of 2017. Nationally, the exception was premium white carcasses, cows with the most fat, which were down 19% year-over-year. Breakers showed the biggest volume, up 57% compared to last year, followed by boners up 19%, and cutters up 15%. Carcasses under 500lbs were more mixed. Cutters had the higher volumes, up 37% in those weighing 400-500 lbs. and those carcasses under 400 lbs. were up 45% in July compared to a year ago. Breakers under 500 lbs. were up 25%, and boners, were down 58% compared to a year ago. These volumes do not include imported slaughter cows.

July volumes also took a toll on cull cow dressed prices, both in the lighter weight categories and across all carcass grades. Carcasses over 500 lbs. faced lower prices of 10% of more than the year before. Breakers, Boners, and Cutters over 500 lbs. averaged about the same in July at around $122 per cwt. Premium whites were higher averaging $129 per cwt. Lighter carcasses (under 500 lbs.) faced even steeper price declines. Those prices fell by more than 13% compared to a year ago, with 400-500 lbs. cutters bringing the best price nationally of $118 in July.

Higher volumes of cull cows continue to pressure cull cow prices more than the decline in the boxed beef market. Cutter cow cutout volumes are down only 3.7% in July compared the double-digit declines in the dressed cow carcass prices. Still, with cutout values continuing to fall in August, and early weaning starting to take shape, there is likely be downside risk to these cull cow prices in the near future.

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Monaghan cow takes home Bailey's Champion Cow title –

Catherine Hurley

Drumlina Attwood Megan took home the Diageo Baileys Champion Cow Competition today at the 35 year of the Virginia Show, Co Cavan.

The syndicate-owned winner from Mulladuff, Glaslough, Co. Monaghan was also Reserve Champion in the Bailey Champion Cow competition last year.

Producing 10,261kgs of milk and 774kgs of milk solids in her last lactation, proved a worthy winner of the ‘super-milkers’ competition, the Judge said.

Judge David Hardson said he was looking for a well-balanced cow, with excellent legs and feet and above all an excellent mammary system. He said he was also looking for shorter cows, with a bit more style about them, a cow that would catch your eye coming into the ring.

Entry is exclusive to cows that produce more than 7,000kg of milk a year also producing 500kg of milk solids.

The competition has become well known within dairy breeding circles as the ‘highlight of a show-man’s year’.

Breeding a Diageo Baileys Champion is what every top Holstein Friesian breeder on this island aspires to achieve. The 5-way syndicate took home a trophy and €2,000 cash prize.

Reserve Champion was Milliedale Dusk Rhapsody from Donal and Kathleen Neville’s farm in Ballinaguilt, Croagh Co. Limerick, a fifth lactation cow producing 10,275kgs of milk last year.

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Three farmers 'had sex with horses, dogs, a cow and a goat' in specially-built pen – Metro

A trio of farmers had sex with horses, dogs a cow and a goat after trapping them in a specially-built v-shaped pen, it is claimed.

Terry Wallace, 41, Marc Measnikoff, 34 and Matthew Brubaker, 32, face 1,460 charges in total, and are also accused of making videos of their activities.

Police were tipped off about the alleged bestiality by a 16 year-old boy who lived on the ‘makeshift farm’ in Munson, Pa., alongside the three men.

(L-R) Terry Wallace, Marc Measnikoff and Matthew Brewbaker face more than 1,460 charges after they allegedly had sex with a variety of animals in a specially-constructed v-shaped pen (Picture: Clearfield County District Attorney’s Office)

They arrested the three farmers Saturday, with the teenager now in protective custody, according to KDKA. 

He does not appear to have been sexually abused although police are investigating what other abuse or neglect the youngster may have suffered.

Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr said the alleged bestality was ‘one of the most extreme cases of animal abuse that his office has handled.’


Police are also working to secure new homes for the animals, and have further charged their former keepers with cruelty charges.

More: World

Wallace, Meansnikoff and Brubaker also face allegations of endangering the welfare of children, as well as corruption of minors.

All three are being held on $100,000 bond, and are set to make a preliminary appearance in court Wednesday.


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