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The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has announced the establishment of a new precision fermentation centre in Singapore, named the Centre for Precision Fermentation and Sustainability (PreFerS).


Led by professor Yong-Su Jin, the Illinois Advanced Research Center at Singapore (ARCS), an affiliated centre of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, will launch the new facility.


The five-year, $14.8 million grant came from Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF). PreFerS is also supported by the University of Illinois’s Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment (iSEE) and various stakeholders who facilitated the proposal development.


PreFerS will be based at NRF’s CREATE on the National University of Singapore campus, where the Illinois ARCS offices are located.


The centre will be housed within the University’s department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, facilitating research and development in precision fermentation technologies. It will focus on microbial cell engineering and precision fermentation to convert readily available compounds like sugars into molecules, including alternative proteins, healthy fats and vitamins.


Yong-Su Jin said: “By converting sugars and inedible parts of crops into healthier foods, we can take what is already provided in plants and use it to create a more balanced, nutritious, and good-tasting diet. We believe this work can play a major role in human health and address inequities in food supplies the world over, without contributing to global climate change.”


Associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, Jeremy Guest, added: "We have seen food companies successfully produce novel food ingredients with precision fermentation, and our scientific understanding and technological capabilities are growing rapidly. The first thrust of PreFerS will improve the precision fermentation toolset, maximising efficient production of target food products and minimising unnecessary byproducts. The second thrust centres on bioprocess engineering and will focus on scaling up fermentation in a way that is both cost-effective and environmentally responsible.”


PreFerS aims to improve food supply chain resilience, reduce environmental impacts associated with food production and address micronutrient deficiency. tive proteins, including cell-based and plant-based meats, addressing global demand for sustainable food sources.


#Singapore #ARCS

Singapore funds University of Illinois ARCS' new precision fermentation centre

Phoebe Fraser

24 June 2024

Singapore funds University of Illinois ARCS' new precision fermentation centre

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