40Research opportunities
44Commercial whitespaces
39Ecosystem support needs
Key: Cultivated Fermentation Plant-Based
Opportunity Production platform Solution category Value chain segment Technology sector Maturity level
Microbial strain-development contract research organizations for alternative protein applications

While emerging fermentation-derived ingredient companies often optimize their strain’s productivity in-house, it may be more efficacious for startups to engage contract research organizations with both deep microbial strain development expertise…

Fermentation Commercial Ecosystem Research R&D Host strain development
Comprehensive microbial screening to identify new protein production candidate strains

A systematic, open-access, comprehensive analysis of novel microbial strains could drastically expand the available strains that can compete on flavor, efficiency, cost, and nutrition.

Fermentation Research R&D Host strain development 1 – Inception
Producing animal-like fats through microbial fermentation

Microbial fermentation may be able to help us produce lipids that are identical or similar to animal fats—especially saturated fats, which are exceedingly rare in the plant kingdom.

Fermentation Commercial Research R&D Raw Materials, Ingredients, & Inputs Host strain development Target molecule selection 1 – Inception
Expanding options for food-safe genetic selection markers

Analysis of which food-safe selection markers exist and can be used orthogonally, as well as efforts to develop new selection markers, for alternative proteins.

Fermentation Commercial Research R&D Host strain development
Biosynthetic pathway discovery for fermentation-produced molecules

Microbial biosynthetic pathways can be mined computationally to identify candidate pathways for manufacturing high-value ingredients via fermentation.

Fermentation Commercial Research End Products R&D Raw Materials, Ingredients, & Inputs Host strain development Target molecule selection
Fat production & encapsulation within oleaginous yeast

Oleaginous yeast with durable cell walls may be able to serve as natural methods of fat encapsulation to protect fats through manufacturing, storage, and preparation.

Fermentation Research R&D Raw Materials, Ingredients, & Inputs Host strain development Target molecule selection
Suppressing hyper-branching of filamentous fungi

Prolonging continuous cultivation of filamentous fungi by suppressing hyper-branching to improve texture and boost production efficiency.

Fermentation Commercial Research Production R&D Bioprocess design Host strain development

Get involved

If you’d like to fund a research project, work on any of these solutions, share information about related efforts that are already underway, or elevate new ideas for advancing the alternative protein industry, we’d love to hear from you!

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Explore key innovation priorities

Review commercial whitespaces, research gaps, technological needs, and investment priorities at each stage of the alternative protein value chain.

How we built this

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Executive summary

Get an overview of GFI’s Solutions initiative and a summary of key resources.

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Full report

Delve into the full report on the motivation, methodology, rationale, and key findings and recommendations of the Solutions initiative.

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Futures wheels analysis

Explore our framework for uncovering second-order or third-order consequences and implications of hypothetical future scenarios to support better decision-making in the present.

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Discover key findings from GFI’s premortem analysis of potential threats to the widespread adoption of alternative proteins, including strategies to avoid or mitigate the most pressing risks.