ICL and Protera Biosciences develop plant-based solutions using AI

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The collaboration aims to advance fermentation and machine learning to develop novel clean-label proteins.

ICL (NYSE: ICL) (TASE: ICL), a global leader in specialty minerals, announces that ICL Food Specialties has partnered with Protera Biosciences, an AI-driven FoodTech startup and developer of novel proteins used to develop sustainable, highly functional protein-based ingredients for food manufacturers. The partnership follows ICL’s investment in Protera in 2021 through the ICL Planet Startup Hub, a vehicle that ICL uses to invest in and collaborate with innovative FoodTech and AgriTech companies worldwide.

Through this partnership, ICL and Protera will develop and commercialize sustainable protein-based ingredients through precision fermentation. These clean label ingredients will meet current market requirements and provide a replacement for chemical additives or less attractive ingredients. They will also enhance the sensory properties of plant-based foods while having a positive impact on global food security challenges.

Protera intends to accelerate development through its deep learning platform “madiTM”, which can predict and adjust the structure and functionality of plant proteins. The platform designs proteins from a database of more than 1.5 billion edible protein sequences and applies precise fermentation parameters to produce them. The results meet consumer demand for a short list of simple ingredients on food labels.

The new platform also enables the discovery of previously untapped plant proteins with high performance. These new ingredients can replace texturizers, stabilizers, preservatives and more, all of which are based on plant proteins. The rationalization of the development and production of plant proteins facilitates the replacement of animal proteins and thus contributes to a further reduction of pollutants such as methane and carbon dioxide.

protera team
The Protera Team © Protera

“This collaboration allows us to offer novel ingredients with breakthrough technologies not currently available on the market,” said Hadar Sutovsky, ICL vice president of external innovation and managing director of ICL Planet. “Once these functional ingredients come to market, food manufacturers can accelerate the development of clean and sustainable plant-based products.”

“We will soon be able to provide key food manufacturers with global market access to these ingredients in a sustainable manner,” says Rado Sporka, vice president of Commercial Business Food Specialties at ICL. “This will further diversify and strengthen ICL’s commitment and offerings in the alternative protein space and accelerate the development of effective solutions to global environmental challenges.”

“We are excited to partner with ICL Food Specialties to bring new proteins to market,” added Leonardo Alvarez, Founder and CEO of Protera. “Joining the forces of our two companies will dramatically accelerate our vision of using biology to create protein-based ingredients. We are already validating functional targets in the lab with unprecedented speed and accuracy.”

The research teams of the two companies are actively working on the development of these innovative protein-based ingredients and through this partnership will be able to ramp up production once the ingredients are ready for commercialization.

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