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| 1 minute read

Can scientists create chocolate and other food products out of air?

Some things sound too good to be true. I read this article and thought there had to be a catch. And there is one. The scientists involved aren't exactly making “chocolate” out of air, they are making a type of fat that acts like cocoa butter which then can be used to make chocolate (and other products). And the “air” is actually greenhouse gases such as hydrogen and carbon dioxide, which is combined with microbes grown in fermentors similar to brewing. When the microbes are removed, an oil is left that can be made into butters, oils, and animal fats.

While this might sound like science fiction, this work is currently being done at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University through a startup called Circe Bioscience. Wyss has entered into a licensing agreement with Circe, which received multiple awards for this concept and over $8 million in funding, including a $3.2 million grant from a program within the US Department of Energy. The goal of this work is a laudable one, to promote conservation, regeneration, and co-production “using nature's building materials (here, microbes) rather than harsh chemicals.”

We should all be keeping an eye on this and other new technologies that are constantly evolving in the food and beverage industry. This work epitomizes the ongoing efforts of scientists within this space to work with nature to ultimately produce what we need.  

The technology, developed by a research team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, converts greenhouse gases (GHG) such as hydrogen (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) into useful products such as fats and oils using microorganisms.


food and beverage, microbes, innovation, agribusiness, fab, higher education, life sciences