Navonutrients is converting CO2 into proteins for Human and Animals

NovoNutrients, a startup led by David Tze, is developing a method to convert carbon dioxide into protein using tailored microbes. The aim is to provide sustainable food sources for humans as well as animals.

The company recently raised $18 million in Series A funding to support the construction of a pilot plant in the San Francisco Bay Area. The plant will validate its commercial-scale designs and microbial strains.

As an alternative to managing commercial-scale plants directly, NovoNutrients intends to make money by selling these microorganisms and providing licenses to construct and manage facilities. The pet food industry, which recognizes the advantages of using alternative protein sources, has shown increasing interest in the startup.

The business modifies the strains of microorganisms to break down waste streams with varying gas mixtures in order to manufacture those proteins. Synthetic biology approaches can be employed by the corporation to enhance the stability and effectiveness of the microbes in certain goods.

However, Tze stated that NovoNutrients boosts and exploits evolution for natural products. The ability to customize the strains using organic, non-GMO methods to the precise mixed gasses that will be accessible at a certain partner site is, in fact, our most significant strain advancement, he claimed.

NovoNutrients plans to make most of its money not by building and operating commercial-scale plants, but by selling microbes along with the licenses to build, operate and maintain the facilities. “We would also do marketing and business development for the products,” Tze said.

Unexpectedly, Tze said that within the past year, he had spoken with pet food companies more frequently.

“This has been a response, in part, to people’s general decline in interest and confidence in alternative proteins,” he said. However, the pet food industry has been quicker to acknowledge the advantages of substitute protein. It doesn’t hurt that people spend a lot of money on their pets; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that overall spending increased by 78% between 2013 and 2021.

“There are parts of the market where there’s a significant willingness to pay for ingredients including, but not limited to, hypoallergenic,” Tze said.

Because NovoNutrients’ protein would be new in many pets’ diets, Tze said it shouldn’t pose a problem for pets with food allergies.

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