On cheese

As everyone should know cheese is made from milk and milk is produced by female mammals to feed their young. From an animal welfare perspective there are two problems with cheese.

First most cheese makers use animal rennet, for which young animals need to be slaughtered. Secondly female mammals need to give birth to a young in order to give milk, and in fact human demand for milk means that more animals have to be bred than are needed to maintain the livestock population. The surplus animals are slaughtered at young age.

There are two ways how to solve the rennet issue. First we could use alternative rennet from vegetable or microbial sources or use vinegar or citric acid. This still leaves the second issue.

The most important milk protein is casein, derived from caseus (Latin for cheese). Cheese is essentially casein. Our proposal is to use recombinant DNA technology to create casein-producing algae.

Algae are fast growing and efficient producers of protein, which allow harvesting on a daily base. After harvest we only need to remove the chloroplasts the algae – unless you want to have green cheese – as algae already contain sugar and fat. Then we need to add lactic acid bacteria, more specifically lactobacillus casei, to convert the sugars into lactic acid.

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