Plant bioreactor technology
BioBetter discovered a new purpose for the traditionally shunned tobacco plants, transforming them into bioreactors for the production of GFs. These GFs play a key role in the proliferation and differentiation of cultured meat cells, allowing for the formation of authentic and well-structured muscle tissue.
Designed for both environmental safety and efficiency, these bioreactors will be grown in a large-scale, net house cultivation system. The plants are carefully engineered to prevent the escape of any transgenic material. They are induced to express growth factors only when chemically triggered, and the company exclusively uses non-food, non-feed tobacco plants to eliminate any risk of inadvertent consumption or cross-contamination of food crops.
Sustainability at the core
“Our holistic approach not only underscores our commitment to safety and environmental responsibility but also streamlines regulatory processes,” said Dana Yarden, M.D., co-founder of BioBetter. “Our commitment to sustainability shines through in every facet of our operations. We plan to use recycled and low-quality water for irrigation, minimize nitrogen fertilizer use, and reduce emissions and environmental impact.”
The newly established pilot plant has the capacity to process 100kg of tobacco plant-derived GFs daily. Constructed in adherence to the highest quality standards, the facility meets all regulatory requirements for production of food-grade growth factors, including FGF2 and insulin. It currently is progressing through essential stages of securing approval from the Ministry of Health for food manufacturing licensing. The company is committed to scalability, adhering to ISO2200 and HACCP standards.
“We more than doubled our workforce from 23 to 50 workers to advance all aspects of production, cultivation, and R&D,” said Yaari. “We stimulate the commercial aspirations of cultivated meat start-ups and the pilot plant signifies a substantial step toward the company’s next growth stage in 2025: the capacity for processing 25 tonnes of leaves daily, reaching commercial production of five tonnes annually by the end of 2025.”