Green Food – The Tesla of Food?

IMAGINE a plant-based hamburger patty that not only looks and tastes just like meat but bleeds as well. Or how about trying some meatless chicken strips with the same fleshy and fibrous texture as cooked poultry. There is a strong chance that the above scenario may soon become a reality.

Several Silicon Valley funded companies are on a mission to change the way people eat by creating new plant-based food that they say will be healthier, less expensive and tasty as real meat, egg, dairy and other animal-based products. More importantly, these healthier option all have a much lower environment impact.

One of a handful of tech startups that has embarked on a programme to develop animal products as well as cheese and eggs from plants is Impossible Foods. The company’s founder, Dr Patrick Brown says that its mission is to “give people the great taste and nutritional benefits of foods that come from animals without the negative health and environmental impact.”

The Standford University biologist and physician founded Impossible Foods because he knew that people would never give up the foods they love. Generally, many people are not keen on eating vegetables. They prefer to eat meat or dairy products. He believes that the answer is to mimic the taste of meat and other animal-derived foods with plants and take the animal out of the equation.

Animal farming, he says, is not only destructive but unsustainable. “Yet the demand for meat and dairy products is going up. What we are doing is reinventing the entire system of transforming plants into meat and milk.”

According to the United Nations, livestock uses about 30 percent of the world’s landmass and produce about 14.5 percent of greenhouse-gas emission. Furthermore, animal farming is also one of the biggest consumers of water. With the world’s population expected to rise to more than 9 billion by 2050, the demand for meat and other food production are expected to increase.

It is interesting to note that the crop of Silicon Valley funded startups are not targeting vegetarians and vegans but those who love meats and dairy products. This means, the companies have to replicate the meaty flavours and textures that meat lovers prefer.

 

The secret to a burger’s taste is haem, a compound found in all living cells, including plants. It is especially abundant in haemoglobin in blood and in muscle tissues as myoglobin. It also gives a burger its red colour.

During the cooking process, haem acts as a catalyst that helps transform the amino acids, vitamins and sugars in muscle tissue into numerous volatile and flavourful molecules. To create the meaty flavour in its burger patties, the company uses a heme protein equivalent to one found in the roots of legumes. According to Dr Brown, this is “the molecule that makes meat meat.”

According to a recent article in The Economist, a study by the Humane Research Council in the US states that about most vegetarians and vegans (about 2 percent of American’s population) go back to eating meat. As the article points out, this may not be an option in the future as there will come a time when it will be impossible for food production to meet the needs of the growing population, unless there is a change in the way we eat.

This being the case, there is a strong possibility the people may eventually shift to plant-based foods.

Lastly, we hope readers can share your good practices and let’s make the world a better place. Till then 🙂

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What’s New in ITEX 2017?

AS we draw closer to ITEX 2017, we are proud to announce that ITEX is now supported by the Malaysian Ministry of Education (MOE) and also the International Federation of Inventors Associations (IFIA)!

ITEX 2017 is gearing up to deliver a highly impactful exhibition that provides commercialisation opportunities to all the brilliant inventions showcased in the exhibition. One of the features to achieve this would be the ITEX’s 2017 Startups Showcase, which would provide the companies the exposure their brand deserves. This Showcase is ITEX’s latest section catering to companies planning to make its break in the highly saturated startup market.

Almost all businesses spend many painstaking months grooming lucrative ideas into viable business opportunities. Gaining initial recognition from investors followed by market validation is what startups essentially need to take off. Acting as an accelerator, the ITEX 2017 Startups Showcase will help facilitate business needs and move them in the right direction while providing an enabling environment for stimulating engagements to flourish. Activities such as the pitching sessions are designed to give startups valuable face time with the right investors whom are equally as keen to place their bet on the next big thing.

To top it off, with Malaysian government’s latest announcement that 2017 will be the “Startup & SME Promotion Year”, ITEX 2017 Startups Showcase will definitely be a viable and relevant platform that provides multiple opportunities for businesses to rub elbows with the right crowd!

On the other hand, a showcase of hundreds of ingenious creations by young minds will also be presented through the staging of the World Young Inventors Exhibition (WYIE) in 2017. WYIE will be a co-located exhibition at ITEX 2017, which will be an overarching event for ITEX’s three annual flagship shows for budding inventors: the Asian Young Inventors Exhibition (AYIE), the Malaysian Young Inventors Exhibition (MYIE) and the Young Inventors Exhibition. These exhibitions will take on a new look fueled by better and bigger awe-inspiring ideas. The setting for WYIE will be meticulously planned to stimulate conduciveness in areas of thought flow, ideas exchange and to challenge the creativity and innovativeness among young minds.

Spider Silk is Tougher Than Steel?

THE superior properties of natural spider silks are well known, and now efforts to use them to produce body armour are underway. The production of spider silk in commercial quantities holds the potential of a life-saving ballistic resistant material, which is lighter, thinner, more flexible, and tougher than steel.

So much so the US Army’s Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment Office has been funding research into the application of spider silk. The basic challenge lies in that spider are cannibalistic in nature and cannot be raised in concentrated colonies to produce silk in commercial quantities.

The global market demand for technical fibres is growing rapidly and these materials have become essential products for both industrial and consumer applications. By 2012, the annual global market for technical fibres had already reached approximately US$133 billion.

While scientists have been able to replicate the proteins that are the building blocks of spider silk, two technological barriers have stymied production. These barriers are the inability to form these proteins into a spider silk fibre with the desired mechanical characteristics, and to do this cost effectively.

To solve these problems, Kraig Biocraft Laboratories invented a new technology and acquired the exclusive right to use the patented genetic sequences for numerous fundamental spider silk proteins.

Kraig considers itself a world leader in genetically engineered spider silk technologies by applying proprietary genetic engineering spider silk technology to an organism which is already one of the most efficient commercial producers of silk: the domesticated silkworm.

Its spider silk technology builds upon the unique advantages of the domesticated silkworm for this application. The silkworm is ideally suited to produce genetically engineered spider silk because it is already an efficient commercial and industrial producer of silk.

Some 40% of the caterpillars’ weight is devoted to the silk glands. The silk glands produce large volumes of protein, called fibroin, which are then spun into a composite protein thread or silk.

 

Kraig is focused on the creation, production and marketing of high performance and technical fibres such as spider silk. Because spider silks are stronger and tougher than steel, they could be used in a wide variety of military, industrial, and consumer applications ranging from ballistic protection to superior strength and toughness.

However, there is another player offering sustainable and high performance fabrics. Bolt Threads, an American-based biotechnology company, recently raised US$50 million in Series C financing.

Since launching out of stealth in 2015, Bolt Threads has attracted the interest of both new investors and partners. The company is now producing its Engineered Silk protein at large scale, and is moving into yarn manufacturing this summer.

Bolt Threads was co-founded in 2009 by CEO Dan Widmaier, chief scientific officer David Breslauer, and vice-president of operations Ethan Mirsky. The three were fascinated with natural silk, its properties and the process of its production in nature. This curiosity led them to develop technology to produce Engineered Silk made wholly of natural proteins, creating a sustainable and durable new material. Together with partners like Patagonia, Bolt Threads is pioneering more sustainable and non-toxic processes for textile manufacturing.

“Man-made fabrics like nylon and polyester have transformed the fashion industry, for better and for worse,” said Widmaier. “The use of hydrocarbon polymers in these textiles has created a lingering toxic problem for the environment. At Bolt Threads, we’re re-thinking textile manufacturing, producing high performance materials that are also not nearly as harmful to the environment as existing options.”

Bolt Threads researchers originally studied real spiders’ silk, to understand the relationship between the spiders’ DNA and the characteristics of the fibres they make. Today’s technology allows them to make those proteins without using spiders.

After the studying of spider DNA, researchers then create sequences engineered for commercial production while keeping costs down. Primarily the fabric fibres are made of sugar, water, salts and yeast. The yeast produces silk protein in a liquid form during fermentation — very much like the beer-making process. After some processing, the liquid silk protein can be turned into fibre through wetspinning, which is the same way fibres like acrylic and rayon are made.

The company envisions to produce iPad covers, car seats and even name-brand clothing starting 2017.

Spotting the Next Big Thing

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Eyeing the startups trend

STARTUPS which have an eye for trend will often be ahead of the curve and stand a higher chance of getting into the good books of venture capitalists. Spotting excellent trends will not amount on anything if you are not going to do anything about it. The bottom is that you need to find what the trends are and use them to your advantage.

Spotting trends early make it possible to anticipate market reactions and needs, or you can be a trend setter by modifying your startup plans. That way you can almost seamlessly jump on to a new trend just as it takes off.

Spotting trends is no rocket science and you don’t need a sophisticated system to help you spot trends. The easiest, hassle-free and conventional way is the old-school approach of reading and browsing through sources. Also, stay active in industry conferences, events and associations – insights gathered from these conferences can help you keep up with what’s new and what matters.

Secondly, keep a watch on the demographic changes in a community, society or economy. Modifying products or services for different generations is a great way to capitalise on trends, Keep abreast with demographic trends and be mindful of how your target customers’ needs may shift. Once you’ve figured that out, it’s easy to offer innovations and ideas to customers. Quite often consumers do not know how much they need a product until it’s presented to them.

Thirdly, dare to be disruptive. Dare to go against the grains. Many inventors have emerged as champions simply by being a disruptive force and betting against market trends. Creating a product based on countertrend is one of the most effective ways to dominate highly saturated and competitive market. If there are lots of competitors in your niche, an inventor should be bold enough to take the road less travelled to make a difference the business needs.

Good luck and start to DREAM BIG!

 

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ITEX 2017: Inventions of the Future All Under One Roof

Future of invention

ASIA’S largest invention platform, the International Invention, Innovation & Technology Exhibition (ITEX) will return in 2017 from 11-13 May at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. ITEX this year is set to showcase the best creations accumulated from more than 20 Asian and European countries. As one of the flagship annual events organised by Malaysian Invention & Design Society (MINDS), ITEX will be featuring a stellar line up of 1,000 products by local and international inventors that will be present in the exhibition and vying for visitor’s attention. ITEX 2017 is poised to bring about the best Invention and Innovation exhibition in Malaysia, and here’s why it’s simply unmissable:

 

Creating A Buzz at ITEX 2017 Startups Showcase!

The ability to effectively build a strong brand presence is the hallmark of a successful startup. Newly established companies will now be able to provide their brand the exposure it deserves at ITEX’s 2017 Startups Showcase. This Showcase is ITEX’s latest section catering to companies planning to make its break in the highly saturated startup market.

Almost all businesses engage in a series of substantial effort in transforming lucrative ideas into viable business opportunities. Gaining initial recognition from investors followed by market validation is what startups essentially need to take off. Acting as an accelerator, the ITEX 2017 Startups Showcase will help facilitate business needs and move them in the right direction while providing an enabling environment for stimulating engagements to flourish. Activities such as the “Pitch4Fund” pitching session are designed to give startups valuable face time with the right investors whom are equally as keen to place their bet on the next big thing.

To top it off, with Malaysian government has declared that 2017 is the “Startup & SME Promotion Year”, ITEX 2017 Startups Showcase will definitely be a viable and relevant platform that provides multiple opportunities for businesses to connect with the right crowd!

 

WYIE: The Place Where Young Innovative Leaders Of Tomorrow Come Out To Play Today!

A showcase of hundreds of ingenious creations by young minds from the participating Asian and European countries will be presented through the staging of the World Young Inventors Exhibition (WYIE) in 2017. WYIE will be a co-located exhibition at ITEX 2017, which will be an overarching event for ITEX’s three annual flagship shows for budding inventors: the Asian Young Inventors Exhibition (AYIE), the Malaysian Young Inventors Exhibition (MYIE) and the Young Inventors exhibition. These exhibitions will take on a new look fueled by better and bigger awe-inspiring ideas. The setting for WYIE will be meticulously planned to stimulate conduciveness in areas of thought flow, ideas exchange and to challenge the creativity and innovativeness among young minds.

 

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