The World’s First Precision Fermentation Lactoferrin Is Market Ready

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In a world’s first, biotech company TurtleTree says it has developed bovine lactoferrin—a protein abundant in colostrum—using precision fermentation technology.

California- and Singapore-based TurtleTree says it spent 18 months developing LF+—the precision fermentation bovine lactoferrin that it says is the world’s first sustainable offering in this emerging category.

“Looking at recent events like the infant formula shortage in the U.S. and the disruptions in food supply arising from COVID-19, we felt that we could no longer sit on the sidelines,” TurtleTree Chief Strategist, Max Rye, said in a statement.

“With LF+, we see a way to contribute towards better nutrition in the here and now while our longer-term dairy projects remain in the pipeline,” Rye said. “The hope is to ultimately take a proactive approach in creating the world we want to see and genuinely make a difference during a time of need.”

Precision fermentation

TurtleTree says its use of precision fermentation, the same tech employed by Bay Area dairy disruptor Perfect Day, offers greater efficiency and volume for commercial-scale production.

Co-founders Fengru Lin and Max Rye, TurtleTree Labs

The company is exploring lactoferrin because of its beneficial properties on gut and immune health, says urtleTree’s Chief Scientific Officer, Aletta Schnitzler. Building on the existing data showing lactoferrin’s role in boosting iron absorption and immune responses, a 2022 review found lactoferrin capable of modulating cell cycle activity and DNA repair.

“To be able to bring these benefits to the public in a meaningful way, we need to be able to produce lactoferrin both sustainably and at commercial volume,” Schnitzler said. “In pursuit of this goal, we’ve hired some of the foremost minds in precision fermentation including Dr. Amanda Fischer, our Director of Precision Fermentation, and Jung Yi, our Director of Process Engineering and Automation,” says Schnitzler.

“We’ve been delighted by their work so far, and we’ll eagerly welcome more opportunities to add to the team should the right talents come along.”


TurtleTree says the development of the lactoferrin uniquely positions it to be a frontrunner in the functional protein market. After closing its $30 million Series A last November, the company is targeting a 2023 commercial launch.

Courtesy TurtleTree

“The sustainable production of lactoferrin through precision fermentation is a perfect fit for our mission of nourishing both the planet and its people,” said TurtleTree CEO, Fengru Lin.

“To be able to produce this remarkable ingredient at commercial scale—in a way that’s both environmentally and economically viable over the long-term—is an absolute game-changer,” Lin said.

“It means new possibilities for adult nutrition, athletic supplementation, and mothers who want the best nutrition for their families. The possibilities are endless, and we can’t wait to bring this vision to reality.”

Lead image courtesy an_vision/Unsplash


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