Accelerating plant protein development, collaboratively: ‘The task is too complex to solve alone’
Swapping out some animal-based proteins for plant-based alternatives is expected to help feed growing populations with limited natural resources. But more research on using certain crops as meat substitutes is required, according to researchers.
In response, a new international platform, Plant2Food, has been established to accelerate the development of plant-based foods. Participating institutes include Wageningen University & Research, University of Copenhagen, Technical University of Denmark, Aarhus University, and Food & Bio Cluster Denmark.
Importantly, researchers have stipulated the platform should be founded on open collaboration, meaning that no patents will be applied on potential findings. This means that more companies and researchers can benefit from the same knowledge.
“This task is too complex for a single research group or company to solve alone,” according to Marie Louise Conradsen, Head of Open Innovation in Science, Faculty of Technical Sciences at Aarhus University – the university hosting Plant2Food. “In Plant2Food, we want to crunch the value chain so that both researchers and companies can derive input from unexpected sources and thereby create solutions that would otherwise not be readily available.”
The Novo Nordisk Foundation is backing Plant2Food with around €27m in funding over the next five years.
“We need to rapidly develop foods that can feed a growing world population without over-utilising the planet’s resources,” said Claus Felby, Senior Vice President of Biotech at the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
“Plant2Food creates a unique opportunity to make Denmark a leader in developing plant-based foods and ensure that we leverage the huge potential already existing in Denmark’s research community and companies that build networks with the best international experts in the field.”