Aug 31, 2016 | By Benedict

Perfect Day, a startup formed by two biomedical scientists, is using 3D printing to create cow’s milk—without cows! By 3D printing bovine DNA sequences and adding them to yeast, the startup is able to produce the same proteins found in cow’s milk, potentially revolutionizing the dairy industry.

For reasons ethical and physiological, many dairy-lovers feel the need to give up cow’s milk. It is common knowledge that dairy farming conditions can be harmful to the cows being milked, while many would-be milk drinkers find that milk simply hurts their stomach. Unfortunately, the alternatives to cow’s milk aren’t for everyone: soya milk, for example, has a distinctive flavor and is often described as creamier and sweeter than cow’s milk.

Perfect Day, the brainchild of California-based biomedical scientists Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, is aiming to offer the best alternative to cow’s milk yet: a genetically modified cocktail of proteins, fats, and  nutrients that is—for all intents and purposes—equivalent to cow’s milk, only totally vegan, totally lactose-free, and which produces up to 84% less carbon. The startup’s dairy dreams started when Pandya had a bad experience with dairy-free cream cheese and Gandhi, cutting back on meat and dairy, desperately missed pizza.

Rather than provide a plant-based milk alternative like soy or almond milk, Perfect Day has managed to create cow’s milk without cows. To do so, the duo obtained a strain of yeast, which they call “Buttercup,” from U.S. Department of Agriculture. Using a special 3D bioprinter, they then 3D printed bovine DNA sequences which instruct the yeast to produce the proteins found in milk: casein (of which Perfect Day is making four varieties), lactoglobulin, and lactalbumin. These proteins are then mixed with corn sugar and other ingredients in fermentation tanks and left to develop.

Perfect Day's Perumal Gandhi (left) and Ryan Pandya (Image: Food Navigator USA)

As well as offering a product more ethical than cow’s milk, Perfect Day hopes that its forthcoming product will also appeal to those who avoid dairy for physiological reasons. Many people, even those who are not actually lactose intolerant, find that milk upsets their stomach. However, scientists have found that this irritation comes mostly from A1 protein in milk, with A2 protein unlikely to cause such effects. This discovery led to the creation of A2 Milk, a special milk variety, free of A1 protein, that has about 10% market share in Australia. Perfect Day milk will also contain only A2 protein.

Since starting its project in 2014, Perfect Day has already raised $4 million from investors, including Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing’s Horizon Ventures, as industry experts look to seize upon the next big alternative to cow’s milk. While many consumers will be hesitant to try “milk” that has been concocted in a laboratory, others will be sure to see the moral and nutritional benefits of the product. One concern for the startup will be whether it can actually call its product “milk,” since the FDA, with whom Perfect Day is currently in discussions, has strict regulations on product labeling.

Perfect Day is hoping to have its animal-free milk in grocery stores by late 2017, with a price similar to that of cow’s milk.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Oli wrote at 9/2/2016 1:43:23 PM:

Reading this, i think we just need to clarify the term "DNA printing". We cannot 3D print "DNA sequences". The length-scale of single DNA strands is simply to small for current 3D printing processes, even 2 photon lithography. Instead, we can deposit small quantities of DNA strands or constituent cellular components in the millions of parts per drop via 3D printing to create organic systems.

RobinLeech wrote at 8/31/2016 11:43:29 PM:

They aren't creating cow's milk, just the protein. Mixing it with sugar from genetically compromised corn and fat from genetically corrupted soybean oil makes this far less than equivalent to grass fed cow's milk. Inferior even to coconut milk and hempseed milk for that matter.

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