Vegan colours: from the lab to the market

Food colouring often contains animal products such as insect shells. The Danish start-up Chromologics shows that there is another way. Its pigment ‘ChromoRed’ is produced exclusively in the laboratory with the help of a filamentous fungus. This saves agricultural land and is therefore not only more animal-friendly, but also more sustainable.
9 February, 2022 by
Vegane Farben: Vom Labor zur Marktreife
GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute

‘It was a very interesting experience to move from being a scientist to becoming an entrepreneur. I had to learn a completely new language in order to be understood,’ says Gerit Tolborg, CEO and co-founder of the start-up Chromologics, in a video published by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Tolborg discovered a new group of fungal pigments that are suitable for use as food colouring. ‘During my PhD, I developed a process that makes a filamentous fungus produce a single pigment instead of a mixture of different pigments,’ Tolborg says. This allowed Chromologics to develop an industrially feasible and scalable process to commercialise the newly discovered pigment. ‘Our ChromoRed colorant is more sustainable than conventional pigments because we don’t use agricultural land for production,’ Tolborg says. Instead, they produce the pigment in the lab – without the use of any animal products.

Gerit Tolborg will be speaking at the 2nd International Food Innovation Conference at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute on 15 June 2022.

Precision Fermentation Food Innovation Conference

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