Brevel Developing Higher Quality Proteins

  Algae Europe December 2022
Brevel co-founders

Brevel co-founders: (L to R) Ido Golan, CTO,Yonatan Golan, CEO, and Matan Golan, COO. The Golan family benefits from several generations of successful engineers and entrepreneurs. The Golan grandfather founded several manufacturing companies and selected the name Brevel.

Our planet has too many hungry consumers but not enough healthy protein.

Brevel is working to solve our world’s #1 nutritional challenge:
Produce healthier and affordable protein in a clean and sustainable process that is color and flavor neutral.

by Mark Edwards

Brevel’s technology combines Phototrophy with Heterotrophy

Brevel plans to make their sustainable and healthy plant-based protein available at cost levels comparable to the leading sources of plant-based protein today. The Israel-based company uses natural, non-GMO algae, grown in a unique technology that combines photosynthesis with heterotrophy, which results in higher quality of sustainable protein.

Modern plant-based foods carry pitifully low nutritional values. Many field crops deliver less than half the nutrients they provided 40 years ago due to “hidden hunger.” Modern industrial agriculture has created a downward spiral error chain that continually diminishes nutrient density through new GMO seeds that produce large yields with fewer nutrients, tighter planting, and worn-out soils.

Over 60% of the calories consumed globally come from only three extremely low-nutrient foods; wheat, rice, and maize (corn). The lack of nutritional density and diversity in food grains have led to horrific health results. Modern foods contain mostly “empty calories,” where consumers receive negligible nutrients per bite. Poor nutritional density has led to severe global protein deficiencies combined with epidemics of obesity and diabetes. In many countries today, one out of every two newborn children will develop diabetes, which often reduces life quality, cost, and length.

The EAT Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health engaged over 30 world-class scientists to assess the Western diet. Their harsh assessment of our food system is breathtaking:

The calorie-dense but nutrient deficient foods in the Western diet have catastrophically damaged human health. Unhealthy diets now pose a greater risk to morbidity and mortality than unsafe sex, alcohol, drug, and tobacco use combined.

Since the dawn of the Green Revolution, low-nutrient foods have created a global obesity epidemic where 2.5 billion people are overweight with a tenfold increase in obese children. Obesity and overweight rates for American adults have more than doubled to 75%.

Brevel was created to address these nutritional challenges.

The meaning of the name Brevel, in Hebrew, represents innovation, independence, determination, courage, sincerity, and activity.

The three Golan brothers co-founded Brevel in 2016:

  • Matan, COO, is an MD who brings the health and nutritional science.
  • Ido, CTO, is an algae bioengineer who has invented new higher speed, quality, and scalable cultivation methods.
  • Yonatan, CEO, is enthusiastic about finding solutions for how to create substantially healthier nutrition for our growing population in a sustainable and ethical way.

Yonatan, Ido, and Matan Golan recognized that the global food industry needed higher quality protein cultivation at a substantially larger scale. They dismissed land plants and focused on microcrops, specifically algae due to its promise for growth speed and superior nutrition.

The Brevel team surveyed the algae industry and found algae cultivation lacking in both quality and scale. They examined all the usual suspects — large raceways and indoor and outdoor photobioreactors. They concluded that photosynthetic algae produced in outdoor or indoor ponds or closed bioreactors were too labor intensive, suffered from contamination, and produced at far too low yields and too high costs.

They considered a pure heterotrophic approach but realized that growing algae in the dark would subtract the substantial nutritional elements that come with solar-driven photosynthesis. They could not find an existing algae production model with sufficient speed, scale, and quality to satisfy the nutrient needs of savvy multinational food companies. So, Yonatan Golan and his brothers founded Bevel with a mixotrophic cultivation strategy.

Algae cultivation may use three nutritional sources

Autotrophic
• Uses sunlight, CO₂, and H₂O
• Builds carbohydrates
Heterotrophic
• Uses tiny organic molecules
• Builds lipids, protein, and fat
Mixotrophic
• Uses CO₂ and organic carbon
• Builds carbohydrates, protein, lipids, and fat

 

Autotrophic algae depend on light to power photosynthesis for their growth energy. Heterotrophic cultivation occurs in the dark using fermentation tanks. Heterotrophic uses organic molecules like sugars for energy. Solazyme, purchased by Corbion, pioneered the heterotrophic algae production industry with a suite of fermentation processes (right).

Scientists and companies have used mixotrophic cultivation for decades, but most were not able to break the scale barrier. Mixotrophic methods have been used successfully in water treatment. Mixotrophic strategies have also been applied to wastewater remediation to reduce GHG emissions and to recover nutrients at substantially less cost and with a reduced carbon footprint.

Mixotrophic cultivation grows algae with both light and organics as energy sources and uses both CO₂ and organic carbon as carbon sources. Some algae species can perform photosynthesis and also acquire exogenous organic nutrients. The mixotrophy advantage allows cells to thrive without photosynthesis, e.g., in the dark.

Brevel’s mixotrophic approach benefits from the best attributes of both growth strategies: the high nutrient load from autotrophic and the fast growth and efficiency from fermentation. The combination strategy also enables high reliability and nutrient quality.

Part 2 Continued

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