Dilek Uzunalioglu and Philippe Prochasson with fellow panelists.

We were thrilled to attend the IFT FIRST annual exposition in July. A few of our team members traveled to Chicago, Illinois, to join the action. They dove deep into the world of regulatory codex, plant protein functionality and the fermentation revolution. 

A regulatory codex 

Janet Collins, head of Regulatory Government and Industry Affairs with Motif, has attended IFT events since 1976, so it holds a very special place in her heart. She has served in numerous leadership positions with IFT, including serving as President from 2013-2014.  

This year, she moderated the Codex Alimentarius Panel Discussion, which discussed setting global food standards for safety, nutrition, health and trade.  

Codex Alimentarius has developed global regulatory standards, procedures and guidance to enable the implementation of common regulations for food safety and global trade for 60 years, 30 of which IFT has been involved in.   

“The first time IFT brought a panel together to discuss Codex topics was not successful. We forgot how boring it seems to the audience,” Janet said. “But this one wasn’t, it was highly successful because people are finally recognizing the importance of Codex.”   

There are a million different standards that would fuel great conversation, but Janet and her co-moderator, Martin Slayne, vice president of Global Regulatory Affairs for Ingredion Incorporated, focused on what they believed were the most difficult issues, such as safety and true risk assessment, biotech labeling and nutrition.  

Plant protein functionality 

Dilek Uzunalioglu, director of Food Applications with Motif, has also attended IFT events for quite some time. She serves as the IFT protein division leader and is responsible for developing content and nominating speakers for the event.  

 “It was amazing seeing people after so many years apart due to COVID,” said Dilek. I cannot tell you how often I stopped walking on the expo floor to say ‘hi’ to someone and catch up.”  

Motif had a great presence at the panel on plant protein functionality, which was hosted by Dilek and joined by Philippe Prochasson, Motif’s vice president of Bioscience and Analytics. The audience packed into the room and quickly filled the seats, leaving other attendees standing.  

During the panel, there was a great emphasis on the challenges of coloration within plant-based foods.  

“The panelists were also enthralled by the discussion regarding the means of gaining FDA approval for plant-based products,” said Philippe. “All panelists were on similar pages with similar mindsets, allowing a seamless conversation.” 

The fermentation revolution 

Proceeding the panel, Philippe Prochasson hosted a poster session, “A 21st Century Revolution: Cell-based Production of Alternative Proteins Through Precision Fermentation.”  

He talked the audience through the journey of producing Motif’s first commercial alternative protein, HEMAMI™, from microbial design to scale-up fermentation.  

“Using precision fermentation, we can produce an animal protein without the animal and still be able to capture the functionality of said protein,” Philippe explained. “With the help of Ginkgo Bioworks vast database, we identified bovine myoglobin through sequencing through databases of desired animal protein genomes and mimicked it without the animal.” 

Motif moves past mimicry by creating new food experiences by improving bovine myoglobin’s productivity and production. Motif made a three-fold improvement from generation one to generation four in bovine myoglobin relative expression. 

“While right now we are focused animal replacement protein,” Philippe said, “we can dream of finding a novel protein that will further enhance the functionality of plant-based foods.”