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How microalgae could help us move towards a more sustainable tomorrow

Microalgae have been proposed as a potential source for numerous products, ranging from proteins used in nutrition to microsporine-like amino acids (MAA) that could be used in sunscreens to absorb ultraviolet (UV) light. However, one of the major constraints to using microalgae-based products is their low production of high-value products like MAA. GeneBEcon, a Horizon Europe-funded project, investigates the potential to increase the production of valuable compounds in microalgae through gene editing in order to enable a more sustainable bioeconomy in Europe.
Protealis, a leading innovator in seed solutions for sustainable plant proteins based in Ghent, Belgium, proudly announced today the successful completion of its B-Round funding, raising a substantial EUR 22 million.
Flanders is home to one of the world’s most innovative agrifood clusters, and Johan Cardoen has been a central figure in that ecosystem for over three decades. From leading positions in agtech startups to the Managing Director of VIB, Cardoen has run the gamut of Flemish biotech. Interested in his decades of firsthand experience in the sector, we spoke with Cardoen about his views on the past, present, and future of sustainable agriculture.
In the battle against the climate crisis, precision fermentation presents a hopeful aid. Using microbes to create valuable materials, we can help to transform the global economy and shift away from harmful agricultural and industrial practices. However, despite the support of industry and Venture Capital cash, this field still faces many challenges. Though promising, we need further investment in this innovative technology before it can fully deliver on its potential for sustainable solutions.
Instantly turning water into beer may sound like a biblical miracle, but that’s exactly what Belgian start-up Bar.on is now doing. Their ‘molecular beer printer’ takes mere seconds to turn water into different styles of beer, with customized bitterness, alcohol content, fruitiness, and sweetness. Backed by science, the company is on a mission to make the beer industry more sustainable and hopes to soon roll out its molecular beer mixing technology to different markets.
Nicky Deasy is Co-Founder and former Managing Partner at The Yield Lab Europe, one of the largest early-stage venture capital funds in the EU focused on the intersection of sustainability and agtech. Since stepping back from the day-to-day running of the fund, she is an Investment Committee Member at biotope by VIB, as well as advising a number of startups and investment funds focused on improving the environmental and carbon footprint of the agrifood industry. She shares her thoughts on how innovative ag- and food-tech startups can help us tackle climate change.
Belgian-American AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, has set up a separate R&D division called BioBrew to develop animal-free proteins using precision fermentation. Quite a number of companies are already focused on producing alternative proteins, which don’t cause harm to animals and are more sustainable, but they generally lack the capacity to produce them on a commercial level. This is one of the things that sets BioBrew apart, thanks to AB InBev’s knowhow of using yeast fermentation on a large scale to make beer.
How are we going to feed an expected 10 billion people by 2050 in a sustainable way? It is a daunting task. Our climate is changing, and a combination of environmental and economic factors are already resulting in widespread food shortages. There is no simple solution to this problem, but innovation in the food and agtech sector will help alleviate the burden. To make this possible, stakeholders – including researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and governments – need to make agrifood innovation a priority immediately.
Venture capitalists have a vital role to play in guiding our planet’s future. By investing in technological advances that remediate environmental ruination, enable adaptation to new conditions, and heal challenging diseases, VC funds can help improve the world while also benefiting their bottom line. But there is an even bolder approach available to VCs who really want to do good: influencing governments by earmarking funds for advocacy groups.
VIB’s new incubator program biotope fosters early biotech startups looking to impact people’s lives through agrifood innovation. Based in the heart of a flourishing ecosystem, biotope supports young companies looking to de-risk their technology, build a viable business case, and connect with expert scientists, industry leaders, and investors. The aim is to create mutual benefit for both the ecosystem and the entrepreneurs – providing the region with an influx of talent and innovation, and the startup teams with the support and brains they need to grow and succeed.
  • Fields of application

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  • Regional News

Microalgae have been proposed as a potential source for numerous products, ranging from proteins used in nutrition to microsporine-like amino acids (MAA) that could be used in sunscreens to absorb ultraviolet (UV) light. However, one of the major constraints to using microalgae-based products is their low production of high-value products like MAA. GeneBEcon, a Horizon Europe-funded project, investigates the potential to increase the production of valuable compounds in microalgae through gene editing in order to enable a more sustainable bioeconomy in Europe.
Protealis, a leading innovator in seed solutions for sustainable plant proteins based in Ghent, Belgium, proudly announced today the successful completion of its B-Round funding, raising a substantial EUR 22 million.
Flanders is home to one of the world’s most innovative agrifood clusters, and Johan Cardoen has been a central figure in that ecosystem for over three decades. From leading positions in agtech startups to the Managing Director of VIB, Cardoen has run the gamut of Flemish biotech. Interested in his decades of firsthand experience in the sector, we spoke with Cardoen about his views on the past, present, and future of sustainable agriculture.
In the battle against the climate crisis, precision fermentation presents a hopeful aid. Using microbes to create valuable materials, we can help to transform the global economy and shift away from harmful agricultural and industrial practices. However, despite the support of industry and Venture Capital cash, this field still faces many challenges. Though promising, we need further investment in this innovative technology before it can fully deliver on its potential for sustainable solutions.
Instantly turning water into beer may sound like a biblical miracle, but that’s exactly what Belgian start-up Bar.on is now doing. Their ‘molecular beer printer’ takes mere seconds to turn water into different styles of beer, with customized bitterness, alcohol content, fruitiness, and sweetness. Backed by science, the company is on a mission to make the beer industry more sustainable and hopes to soon roll out its molecular beer mixing technology to different markets.
Nicky Deasy is Co-Founder and former Managing Partner at The Yield Lab Europe, one of the largest early-stage venture capital funds in the EU focused on the intersection of sustainability and agtech. Since stepping back from the day-to-day running of the fund, she is an Investment Committee Member at biotope by VIB, as well as advising a number of startups and investment funds focused on improving the environmental and carbon footprint of the agrifood industry. She shares her thoughts on how innovative ag- and food-tech startups can help us tackle climate change.
Belgian-American AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, has set up a separate R&D division called BioBrew to develop animal-free proteins using precision fermentation. Quite a number of companies are already focused on producing alternative proteins, which don’t cause harm to animals and are more sustainable, but they generally lack the capacity to produce them on a commercial level. This is one of the things that sets BioBrew apart, thanks to AB InBev’s knowhow of using yeast fermentation on a large scale to make beer.
How are we going to feed an expected 10 billion people by 2050 in a sustainable way? It is a daunting task. Our climate is changing, and a combination of environmental and economic factors are already resulting in widespread food shortages. There is no simple solution to this problem, but innovation in the food and agtech sector will help alleviate the burden. To make this possible, stakeholders – including researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and governments – need to make agrifood innovation a priority immediately.
Venture capitalists have a vital role to play in guiding our planet’s future. By investing in technological advances that remediate environmental ruination, enable adaptation to new conditions, and heal challenging diseases, VC funds can help improve the world while also benefiting their bottom line. But there is an even bolder approach available to VCs who really want to do good: influencing governments by earmarking funds for advocacy groups.
VIB’s new incubator program biotope fosters early biotech startups looking to impact people’s lives through agrifood innovation. Based in the heart of a flourishing ecosystem, biotope supports young companies looking to de-risk their technology, build a viable business case, and connect with expert scientists, industry leaders, and investors. The aim is to create mutual benefit for both the ecosystem and the entrepreneurs – providing the region with an influx of talent and innovation, and the startup teams with the support and brains they need to grow and succeed.