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Phytolon and Ginkgo Bioworks successfully achieve first milestone to produce vibrant natural food colors via two producing strains

Phytolon plans US debut of ‘cost competitive’ natural food colors via precision fermentation

31 January 2024


Phytolon, a biotechnology company that offers natural food colors via fermentation-based technologies, and Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), which is building the leading platform for cell programming and biosecurity, today announced the successful completion of the first development milestone of their multi-product collaboration to produce natural food colors and the resulting distribution of an equity milestone to Ginkgo.

  • This first milestone has made the full color palette of the yellow-to-purple spectrum accessible for Phytolon’s food colors and has further established a unique and cost-efficient offering for the food industry
  • Phytolon’s natural betalain pigments, produced through fermentation-based technologies, offer safe, sustainable alternatives to synthetic dyes, addressing growing regulatory concerns and consumer demand for natural products
  • Ginkgo Natural Product Services played a crucial role in enhancing the efficiency of Phytolon’s yeast strains, ensuring the consistent and robust production of sustainable food colors via two producing strains

Ginkgo and Phytolon’s partnership, which began in February 2022, aims to produce vibrant betalain pigments spanning the entire yellow-to-purple spectrum using cell engineering. The successful completion of the project’s first milestone unlocks the commercial potential of Phytolon’s yellow-to-purple palette and further establishes this broad and cost-efficient offering to its clients. By leveraging Ginkgo Natural Product Services, Phytolon has significantly improved the efficiency of its yeast strains to generate these vibrant, sustainable colors and offer cost-efficient replacements to artificial dyes.

Phytolon’s naturally produced betalain pigments can be used throughout the food industry as safe, sustainable, and viable alternatives to synthetic dyes, which are facing increased scrutiny and bans. As governments continue to intensify regulations on synthetic dyes, consumers will increasingly seek out more sustainable and nature-derived products. By partnering with Ginkgo, Phytolon is in a strong position to scale their robust array of food colorants for the global market. Following the successful completion of the partnership’s first milestone, Phytolon soon expects to bring the full color palette enabled by these two new strains to market. Ginkgo and Phytolon will continue to work together under their existing agreement toward achieving additional milestones that further increase production efficiency.

This news appeared in: AgFunderNews, Food Ingredients First, FoodDive.

We are so excited to reach this key milestone with our partner, Ginkgo Bioworks. This achievement puts our colors at the forefront to efficiently replace artificial dyes in our food and create a healthy and sustainable world. Our clients are now able to explore high-performing natural colors in their brands, covering the full range from purple to pink, red, orange, and yellow shades.
Tal Zeltzer, co-founder and CTO of Phytolon

We are thrilled to see our collaboration with Phytolon accelerate, and we’re proud to be a driving force behind the realization of this milestone and the R&D breakthroughs it represents. Ginkgo Natural Product Services have enabled Phytolon’s products to be competitive worldwide and create a broader palette of options for the industry. We’re happy to be able to provide innovators like Phytolon with our services and give access to our codebase to accelerate their product development. As we celebrate this success, we look forward to sustaining this momentum to further enhance the performance of Phytolon’s products.
Kevin Madden, Senior Vice President of Commercialization at Ginkgo Bioworks.

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