The broader impact and commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project is a new source of human-grade protein that it can be produced at an estimated half the price of wholesale chicken and 2000 times higher protein yields per acre compared to soy with a fraction of the input requirements. The new protein addresses pain points in industry of potential allergens, amino acid composition, poor flavor and texture, and limited processability. If successfully commercialized, Emergy's potential impact is the ability to provide high quality protein to millions of people at 50% the price of animal protein, while saving the world greenhouse gas emissions, all with a significantly reduced land footprint.

This SBIR Phase II proposes to use the efficiencies of biological organisms to produce high quality, economical, and sustainable protein for human consumption. To achieve this goal, Emergy grows filamentous fungi biomass as a human-grade protein source. The fungal biomass has one of the highest protein contents of any raw source available on the market (60% by weight) and is one of the only complete proteins. Emergy has developed fermentation parameters and used directed evolution to produce a fungal process/strain that provides several inherent advantages over traditional protein production methods. Advantages of production include, low resource requirements, high yields, safe and toxin free, and low unit costs. While this process has been demonstrated at the benchtop level, the technical hurdles include scaling production to industrial systems while maintaining the proper texture and quality. Emergy Labs plans on executing these goals by optimizing growth conditions in scaled bioreactors, defining industrial operating parameters, designing and proving a scalable manufacturing process, and demonstrating commercially relevant scale.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
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Anna Brady-Estevez
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Emergy LLC
United States
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