Why is it so difficult to synthetically create cow’s milk ?

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I have been trying all different types of milk alternatives like oat milk, almond milk etc. But none of them taste similar to cow’s milk. I know a lot of it has to do with familiarity with the milk I’ve been drinking all my life. But I want to understand why there has not been a lab-created cow’s milk yet.

In: Biology

24 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It would cost a lot of money lol. Just like we are at the baby stages now of being to recreate meat just from cells, it costs money

Anonymous 0 Comments

There has been, kinda sorta. The process is just too expensive to be able to sell it as “milk”, so it’s being used in higher sale-price milk products like ice cream.

A company called Perfect Day uses fungus to create the proteins found in cow milk, like whey proteins and casein. Their ingredient was used by Brave Robot for ice cream sold in stores, and Smitten in stand-alone ice cream shops.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Why create it artificially when you have it for cheaper from cows? Sounds stupid.
Unless you want to pay more on milk which is already going up in price, somehow..

Anonymous 0 Comments

People who want a vegan milk are ok with other kinds that don’t taste exactly like it. People who want milk taste but are lactose intolerant have things like lactaid. There’s not really a market for what you’re looking for.

I’ve been drinking non dairy milks for years now, and now when I drink regular milk it tastes weird to me and I don’t like it.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Great question!

Many have tried.

It’s fairly easy to make components of milk (proteins such as casein or sugars like lactose) using bacteria or yeast. We did something like this as a first year university science experiment 20 years ago.

But making whole milk that feels like a satisfying replacement is super hard. We can’t do that because milk is a complex mix of different biological processes, every bit as complex as human milk.

Making milk components might be easy enough – but super hard to do at industrial scale. As an example, there was a well-publicised effort around 10 years ago by some California bio-hackers to make milk proteins using yeast (modifying the yeast cells to produce milk proteins) as a step towards making replica cheese that would be vegan. They made some cheese, raised a lot of money, but it wasn’t commercially viable… it was way tk expensive and only limited quantities could be made.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’ve often thought the same thing… We feed hay to cows and they produce milk. One goes in and the other comes out. How is it that we haven’t been able to create a machine that takes in hay and spits out milk? Not to imply that it’s that simple but… What about that process is it that we cannot reproduce synthetically?

Anonymous 0 Comments

I don’t think they try to have it “taste” like milk, I think the “milk” in the name is just a way to tell customers “you can use it for some of the stuff you’d use cow milk for, like in your coffee or with your cereals”

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s the proteins that are the problem or the barrier. Mimicking them or mass producing them on such a large scale is is a “biotechnological challenge”. It’s usually done by giving microorganisms a genetic code that enables them to produce real milk proteins through a precision fermentation process – but this is difficult to do on the large scale required for manufacturing. But there is some progress being made. Source: [https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/jul/31/lab-grown-dairy-is-the-future-of-milk-researchers-say](https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/jul/31/lab-grown-dairy-is-the-future-of-milk-researchers-say)

Anonymous 0 Comments

The youtube channel ‘the thought emporium ‘ showed that this is very possible. They modify yeast to make milk proteins. The problem seems to be that that the dna for cow milk has been patented by companies to prevent this for being commercially used.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Did you try baby powder milk?