Image by Tobias Rademacher

Traditional fermentation has been around for thousands of years and is used to create many of our beloved pantry staples like bread, cheese, beer and wine.

Mason jars

It uses friendly microorganisms that live and multiply in the product, feeding on sugars and producing additional elements (like enzymes, proteins, alcohols, etc.). These add flavour and change physical and chemical properties of the original product.

Image by Lidya Nada

Precision fermentation is similar to traditional fermentation and uses microorganisms to break down sugars to create different substances in the process. The reason it is called ‘precision’ is because you can train the microorganism to produce an array of different things – from drugs and vaccines to flavours and proteins.

Image by Towfiqu barbhuiya

An example of precision fermentation is the production of human insulin that replaced bovine and porcine sourced insulin in the 1980s.

Yellow Cheese

This technology is no stranger to the food industry either. Dairy cheese manufacturing uses fermentation-based rennet – an enzyme that makes milk curdle. Prior to the introduction of microbiological rennet in the 1980s, the rennet was extracted from the stomachs of calves (yikes!)