PoLoPo
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Egg Protein … From Bioengineered Potatoes?

May 22, 2024
Israeli biotech PoLoPo petitions USDA for approval of a genetically modified potato that produces ovalbumin, a future hedge against egg price and availability concerns.

PoLoPo, an Israeli molecular farming pioneer, today (May 22) announced it has submitted an application for Regulatory Status Review to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the first step toward regulatory approval for a genetically modified potato that can produce egg protein.

For food processors reeling from wildly fluctuating egg prices, supply chain instability and avian flu outbreaks, “The production of ovalbumin in plants, not animals, will transform food processing with a price- and supply chain-stable option and set off a domino effect on sustainability,” said Maya Sapir-Mir, CEO of PoLoPo.

The company’s SuperAA platform “turn[s] the potato plant into a micro-biofactory derived from proprietary metabolic engineering techniques.” The potato plants manufacture the target proteins in the plant and store them in the tuber. Tubers are harvested when they reach sufficient size, then their proteins are extracted and dried into a powder “that integrates seamlessly into current food processing lines and formulations,” the company said.

While derived from genetically engineered plants, the resulting protein powder contains no genetic material and is considered non-GMO, according to the company.

If granted – PoLoPo expects approval in about six months – USDA approval will establish that the company’s platform poses no agricultural or pest risk compared to traditional potato growing. Then PoLoPo will look for U.S. partners and local growers.

PoLoPo’s protein soon will be available to the food industry for testing. To obtain a sample contact [email protected].

PoLoPo says it’s the first Israeli molecular farming company to seek U.S. regulatory approval.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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