Cellular agriculture for milk bioactive production

Lucile Yart, Andy Wiranata Wijaya, Maria João Lima, Corinne Haller, Eline van der Beek, Ryan S. Carvalho, Marine R.-C. Kraus*, Omid Mashinchian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Cellular agriculture, that is, the cell culture-based production of food, may provide an alternative to traditional farming, minimizing the environmental effect, while ensuring nutritional quality, ingredient safety and security of food products. In addition to the cell-based production of animal-based products (meat, poultry and seafood), cellular agriculture of dairy, such as milk, is being increasingly explored. Cellular agriculture could drive specific applications of new and functional ingredients tailored to infant needs, particularly in the dairy industry. Given the known long-term benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, this technology has the potential to supply functional milk bioactives for infants who cannot be breastfed. In this Review, we discuss cell-based biotechnology approaches, applying synthetic biology or precision fermentation, for the production of functional and personalized milk bioactives. We highlight cell culture-based techniques, including mammary gland organoids, and microbial-based approaches to produce milk bioactives, such as human milk oligosaccharides and human milk lactoferrin. Finally, we emphasize challenges of scale, costs and socio-political aspects with regard to human milk production and outline the key future milestones of this field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)858–874
JournalNature Reviews Bioengineering
Publication statusPublished - 9-Oct-2023
Externally publishedYes

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