BERKELEY, Calif., June 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Wild Earth, Inc., a biotech startup developing clean protein pet foods, today announced it has earned high marks in early product testing. Digestibility studies of Wild Earth's novel koji protein returned ratings of "excellent," a great measure of nutritional value and quality.
An independent agency performed in vitro tests that simulate the digestive system of dogs to measure how foods break down after being eaten. Digestibility was found to be higher than 80 percent in gastric (stomach) testing and higher than 76 percent in intestinal testing. Digestibility in pet food is key not only for ensuring nutrient absorption but also for preventing gastric or intestinal blockages.
In addition to digestibility testing, Wild Earth released nutritional data that shows koji is an excellent source of protein, as it boasts over 45 percent protein by weight (compared to 24 percent in steak), has a balanced amino acid profile, and is a source of other essential nutrients such as omega fatty acids.
Like food innovators creating cultured meats for human consumption, Wild Earth is developing pet foods that are healthier, more environmentally friendly, and more humane than conventional products. Wild Earth uses an ancient Asian protein, koji (Aspergillus oryzae), an eco-friendly, renewably sourced member of the fungi kingdom with all ten essential amino acids dogs require. Wild Earth cultivates koji in fermentation tanks, and uses proprietary technology to optimize it for nutritional content, texture, and flavor.
"This is an important milestone that validates we're creating a safe, healthy, nutritious product to transform the pet food industry," said Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt. "America is in a clean meat revolution, and an economical and scalable cultured protein for pets is an essential part of this shift away from animal agriculture."
Wild Earth's first product, a koji-based dog treat, will be available in late summer. Its koji dry food for dogs is scheduled for release in 2019, and cultured meat for cats from mouse cells is in development.
To accommodate its growth and prepare for volume sales, Wild Earth recently relocated to a new headquarters with upgraded laboratory facilities in North Berkeley at 1385 Ninth St.
In addition to its high protein content and an umami-rich flavor dogs and people enjoy, koji may offer health benefits – notably enzymes that aid digestion, antioxidants, and microbiome-nourishing prebiotics to support gut health. Because koji provides a more complete amino acid profile than other alternative proteins used in plant-based pet foods like legumes and grains, it is a more complete canine protein source. Because it is produced safely in a laboratory, not a slaughterhouse, it lacks risks associated with animal-based proteins such as contamination, and reduces the toll on the planet – 25-30 percent of meat's environmental impact in the U.S. is attributed to pet food.
"I am very pleased with these numbers showing high digestibility and complete protein profile," said Wild Earth chief veterinary officer Dr. Ernie Ward. "Based on these results it appears that Koji is an excellent high-quality protein source for dogs."
To download the white paper "Sustainable Pet Food for the Future: Koji or Aspergillus oryzae makes protein affordable, nutritious and eco-friendly" written by Dr.Ward, Wild Earth chief science officer Ron Shigeta Ph.D., et al, please visit https://www.wildearthpets.com/koji-white-paper.
About Wild Earth
Wild Earth is a biotech startup developing clean high-protein pet foods that are healthier, better for the environment, and more humane than conventional products. Wild Earth is developing koji-based protein, followed by cultured meat derived humanely from animal cells. All products and ingredients are sourced, formulated, and made in the United States. Wild Earth is built by pioneers in cellular agriculture led by chief science officer Ron Shigeta, Ph.D., an experienced business team led by chief executive officer Ryan Bethencourt, and Dr. Ernie Ward, known as "America's Pet Advocate." Investors include VegInvest, Stray Dog Capital, Felicis Ventures, Blue Horizon, Babel Ventures, EverHope Capital, Macro Ventures, and Aera VC. The company is headquartered in Berkeley, Calif. For more information visit www.wildearthpets.com.
SOURCE Wild Earth, Inc.