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TurtleTree has achieved its first-ever self-affirmed generally recognised as safe (GRAS) status for its precision fermentation-derived lactoferrin, LF+.

LF+ is an ingredient with powerful benefits for immunity, iron regulation and gut health.

This development affirms the safety of LF+ for use in food and beverages, opening the door for TurtleTree to enter the US market. The company aims to target supply gaps in the current lactoferrin market while enhancing the $35 billion plant-based milk sector and diversifying offerings in various adult nutrition products.

With LF+, TurtleTree has addressed the challenge of scaling lactoferrin production using precision fermentation. This allows the company to supplement the global shortage of lactoferrin and cater to the needs of new consumers who were previously hindered by high costs and supply constraints. This includes "fortifying adult nutrition products such as protein powders, functional beverages, meal replacement alternatives for the elderly, and multivitamins," said the company. Additionally, LF+ serves to supplement plant-based dairy products, bridging the functional gap with traditional dairy milk.

Additionally, TurtleTree said it will enable greater sustainability in lactoferrin production. Precision fermentation, a method involving the programming of microbes to generate targeted functional ingredients, proves to be a significantly more sustainable approach to producing lactoferrin. By removing high methane-emitting cows from the lactoferrin supply chain, TurtleTree has the potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 91%.

Following the LF+'s commercial debut in the US in Q4 2023 and leveraging its innovative technology and production methods, TurtleTree will be selling LF+ at a positive gross margin, which is said to mark the first such achievement in the precision fermentation dairy-protein industry. Customers have expressed interest in purchasing $500 million worth of LF+ over the next five years.

TurtleTree's co-founder and CEO, Fengru Lin, said: "Bovine Lactoferrin is just the start. We see today's achievement as a vital step in realising our broader commercialization strategy and in enhancing access to milk's most powerful ingredients."

By fortifying products with bioactive ingredients like lactoferrin, we're executing a crucial component of our overall plan to empower more people than ever before to enhance their health. Our current partners share in our enthusiasm, eagerly anticipating the opportunity to incorporate LF+ into their products. Together, we are making sustainable and health-conscious choices accessible to a broader audience."

TurtleTree's director of clinical and Dr. scientific affairs, Vanessa Castagna, added: "After extensive internal testing and rigorous evaluation by global experts in the field, our animal-free lactoferrin has been affirmed ready for market entry".

"Securing self-GRAS marks a pivotal step, attesting to the safety and efficacy of our advanced technology and the dedication of our team. This milestone not only validates our commitment to innovation but also opens doors to exciting partnerships with US food and beverage companies."

TurtleTree obtains first-ever self-GRAS status for animal-free lactoferrin

Rafaela Sousa

27 November 2023

TurtleTree obtains first-ever self-GRAS status for animal-free lactoferrin

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