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Fermentation project gets green light for NWO Perspective programme

13 December 2023
Supermarket shelves are filled with them, but plant-based alternatives for dairy and meat are not always tasty. The research by fermentation scientist Herwig Bachmann aims to change that: NWO gives the green light to his project in a new round of the Perspective program for technological innovation.

The research project is partly the result of a three-day hackathon organized by Bachmann's research institute AIMMS, during which twelve young scientists collaboratively developed the best research plan. Bachmann is pleased with the grant, stating, "This enables us to design better fermentation processes. This will result in more flavorful and sustainable plant-based products in the supermarket."

The research is one of the seven projects that NWO approves this round. He and his team receive a budget, including co-financing, of 5.3 million euros, funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK).

The project, named 'FERMI', aims to improve the predictability of fermentation processes and thus find the optimal production method. The goal is to produce plant-based alternatives for dairy and meat that taste better, have a better texture, and have higher nutritional value. And that is much needed, according to Bachmann and his team. Over a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the food production chain. "If we replace animal proteins in our diet with plant-based alternatives, this emission will decrease dramatically," says the project description. "In addition, plant-based diets are healthier."

Every year, researchers can apply for the NWO Perspective programme. In this programme, scientists, companies, and social organizations collaborate on technological innovations with societal impact. This year, the Ministry of EZK makes a total of almost 24 million euros available for the Perspective programme. Visit the NWO website for an overview of all awarded research projects.

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