Lab-Grown Breast Milk Could Be Coming in the Near Future
Lab-grown breast is best
After years of the breast milk vs. formula debate, a new infant feeding alternative is about to enter the ring: lab-grown breast milk.
Singapore-based startup TurtleTree Labs has developed the world’s first cell-based breast milk, Vice reported. Developed from stem cells and subsequently converted into lactating mammary gland cells, the lab-grown breast milk can reportedly provide infants with “identical nutritional components” as milk that comes directly from lactating mothers. This could make lab-grown breast milk a more attractive alternative than formula to mothers who cannot or decide not to breastfeed.
TurtleTree Labs is now working on commercializing the product in collaboration with four to five leading infant nutrition companies. As of last month, the company has reportedly raised $3.2 million in seed funding to pursue the project, and hopes to officially launch the product in 2021. The innovation could have a major impact on the global infant formula market, which was worth $45 billion in 2018 and is expected to hit $103 billion by 2026.
While TurtleTree Labs is focusing on breast milk for now, co-founder Max Rye said the company has its sights set on the dairy industry more broadly, hoping to produce dairy alternatives that are nutritionally identical but more ethical than traditionally sourced dairy.
TurtleTree Labs’ website states that the company’s goal is for “all children and families anywhere in the world [to] have access to safe, clean milk and milk products of full-composition, function, and flavor.”
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