AI-powered sensing tech could narrow the cost margin between dairy and dairy alternatives

For manufacturers of precision fermentation-derived ingredients such as non-animal casein or whey, this solution could bring greater control over growth parameters and an ability to detect anomalies during processing. Paired with existing productivity and bioprocess-improvement services offered by Planetary, the solution could bring costs down by up to 30%, we were told.

The novel technology, which is currently in the works, leverages Konica Minolta’s expertise in monitoring and advanced sensing to generate bioprocessing data in real-time. This data is fed to AI and translated into process and control recommendations to optimize the fermentation process.

Industrial-scale fermentation is a focus for Geneva-based Planetary, which was founded in 2021 with the idea to solve a key problem for many start-ups in the sector – scaling-up production without the financial outlay of investing in infrastructure. In addition to this infrastructure, the company offers a range of services through its proprietary BioBlocks platform to help streamline production and minimize costs up and down the value chain; examples include feedstock development, equipment-level innovation, and smart facility design. “We offer process onboarding, optimization, validation, and production from bench to 50,000L scale – with plans to grow this capacity further into larger volumes in the near future,” said Julian Iacovelli, director, business operations, at Planetary. “However, the industry bottlenecks do not lie in a capacity shortage alone. Bioprocess optimization plays a big role in getting products into the market at scale and at cost.”