wytze wrowytze wrote:
> Thank you. Now my question is on what grounds it is asserted that this is
(This is in reference to products of fermentation technology)
Two grounds, at least.
1. The purified protein is the same molecule as the native protein.
The general reason for wanting to do this is that it is a less expensive
way to get a given amount of a specific protein, and it allows much
easier control over production. I am not convinced that the consumer
ever sees any benefit of any lower cost, but this does explain why
producers want to use it-to minimize their costs.
Consider the difficulties of having to purify the enzyme from the
stomachs of 1-day-old calves. First is that you slaughter a whole bunch
of newborn calves. Then you have to preserve the tissue so that the
enzymes do not break down. Then you have to get it to the person who is
going to be extracting the enzyme, and then they have to use it right
away and cannot leave it sitting around, whether this is a convenient
time to purify enzyme or not.
Alternatively, the gene which codes for that protein can be inserted
into a bacterium and the bacterium grown as a batch culture. The
bacteria are then producing that calf protein. In such a batch it is
possible to control the rate of growth and production, the temperature,
etc. You don't have to arrange for the acquisition of calf stomachs or
be physically located anywhere near a slaughter facility. You purify
the enzyme out when your culture has grown to the size batch you like to
work with. The purified enzyme, once separated from the constituents of
the batch culture, is the same as the native enzyme separated from the
rest of the calf tissues.
2. The living organism, the bacterium of the fermentation culture, is
kept contained in the laboratory or production facility. Thus the
potential ecological effects due to the release of a living GMO over
agricultural land do not need to be considered.
> Even if it would be safe, could it be considered organic?
Some people wanted it to be allowed. Some didn't.
With reference to the specific enzyme used for cheesemaking, many
vegetarians liked the technology because they could have certain cheeses
without requiring that any animal product be used. Among my
acquaintances, about one third of the organic shoppers appear to also be
vegetarians, so there was significant interest. Also there is interest
from orthodox Jews because they cannot have an animal-derived enzyme to
be used in cheesemaking. Now for the first time, vegetarian and kosher
chesse can actually be made comparable in quality to that made with the
It appears that those producers who wanted the technology to be allowed
in organic certification didn't think it was worth explaining their
reasoning or the process to their customers.
The things I am mostly familiar with are not really used in field
agriculture so much as in processing. No doubt many people here know
more than I do about specific uses, but they are being very quiet.
Do you think it ought to be allowed? Why or why not?
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