Contact person:
Marite Cardenas
  • Novo Nordisk Foundation
Responsible at MaU:
Marite Cardenas
Collaborators :
  • Tomas Laursen – Copenhagen University
Time frame:
01 January 2021 - 31 December 2023

About the project

With increasing world population and limited resources, it becomes more and more evident that plant-based foods must provide optimal nutritional value besides being produced with high yield and low cost. Several meat alternatives are available in the market and some efforts are now made for dairy products. Even though there are plant-based milk substitutes based on oats, almonds and soja, these milk substitutes cannot be used to produce cheese. The reason is that cheese is a consequence of proteolytic degradation of milk proteins, which are absent in milk substitutes. Caseins, in particular, are needed to provide the matrix that gives rise to the cheese curd. There are currently several initiatives to produce caseins via fermentation but little has been done to formulate plant-based kinds of milk that not only mimic but also improve cheese formation.

This project tackles these challenges by:

  1. producing recombinant mammalian caseins in yeast that avoid allergenic reactions to milk proteins,
  2. formulating optimised non-animal-based kinds of milk that enable the retention in the curd of rennet enzymes and other water-soluble components endowed with high nutritional value that will be otherwise lost in the whey, and
  3. formulate a plant-based cheese using plant-based oils and non-animal caseins. By combining molecular biology and colloidal science, this application will pave the way for optimised plant-based milk for making vegan cheese of high nutritional value.