United Soybean Board Awards $1 Million to Amfora to Continue Development of High-Protein Soy
Award reflects effort to maintain U.S. soy farmers’ global market share
SAN FRANCISCO, August 9, 2021 -- The United Soybean Board awarded $1 million to Amfora, Inc., a biotechnology company that is applying gene editing to sustainably feed the planet, to continue the development of soybean varieties with increased protein content.
The United Soybean Board (USB) oversees a comprehensive program to increase the demand for and competitiveness of soybean grown in the United States. Checkoff funds received from U.S. soybean farmers provide the funding for projects selected by the USB that are aimed at maximizing the profit opportunities of all U.S. soybean farmers.
“Increasing the protein content of U.S.-grown soy continues to be a key, strategic objective for the USB, and we are constantly reviewing technologies for their potential to achieve this objective,” said Rochelle Krusemark, Meal Target Area Coordinator for the United Soybean Board and Minnesota soybean farmer. “This new funding raises the total grants we have provided Amfora to $2.6 million. We look forward to seeing Amfora’s high-protein soy varieties advance to commercialization.”
“We have already demonstrated that we can significantly increase the protein content of soybean seed by re-programming a genetic switch in the soybean genome. This additional support from the USB is a recognition of the value of our program as it advances towards the market,” said Michael Lassner Ph.D., Chief Science Officer for Amfora. “By applying gene editing to re-program this switch in commercial soybean varieties, we believe we can accelerate the development and launch of soybeans with higher protein content across the U.S. soybean belt.”
Amfora is developing soybean varieties that can be used in plant-based meat and other high-value applications without the need for a capital intensive and costly concentration process.
“We are working to become a major supplier of high protein soybean meal and texturized protein to plant-based meat companies,” said Lloyd Kunimoto, CEO of Amfora.
As demand for plant-based meat exceeds the supply of concentrated soy protein, Amfora’s technology will allow supply to keep up with demand without the need for multi-billion-dollar capital investments within the plant-based protein supply chain.
“Our technology pre-concentrates the protein in the soybean seed,” said Kunimoto. “Others are also working on this, but our technology is the best-in-class as we can significantly increase protein content while maintaining yield. Improving the nutrient density of soy will enable food to be produced more sustainably, with a reduced carbon footprint, and with less use of land and water.”
About the United Soybean Board
United Soybean Board’s 78 volunteer farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy. That preference is based on U.S. soybean meal and oil quality and the sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff. For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit unitedsoybean.org.
Amfora is a biotechnology company that is harnessing biology to sustainably nourish the world’s population and enhancing wellness. Amfora's mission is to meet the growing global demand for foods that are high in protein by enhancing the nutritional density of food and feed crops, while reducing the cost of food and the environmental toll on the planet. More information can be found at www.amforainc.com.