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Next Generation Ingredients that are sustainable and traceable to address growing nutrition demands for all future value chains

To bring environmentally sustainable products to the market

Photo of Prashanth Muralidhar Udagatti
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Lead Applicant Organization Name

String Bio Private Limited

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

Website of Legally Registered Entity

http://www.stringbio.com/

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 3-10 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Bangalore

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

India

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

India

What country is your selected Place located in?

India

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Being born in Southern part of India and grown up in a multicultural society, India is known for ‘Unity in Diversity’. India is the largest democracy in the world and one of the oldest civilizations in the world, spanning a period of more than 4000 years, and witnessing the fusion of several customs and traditions, which are reflective of the rich culture and heritage of the Country.

 My close relationship lies in seeing the tremendous growth of India since adopting Economic liberalization in 1991, growth of IT companies, growth of Biotech industries which got translated into growing middle-class income, relocation of people due to jobs and same time increasing environmental concerns due to rapid expansion of urban cities.

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. It has achieved all-round socio-economic progress since Independence. As the 7th largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off as it is by mountains and the sea, which give the country a distinct geographical entity. Bounded by the Great Himalayas in the north, it stretches southwards and at the Tropic of Cancer, tapers off into the Indian Ocean between the Bay of Bengal on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west.

Lying entirely in the northern hemisphere, the mainland extends between latitudes 8° 4' and 37° 6' north, longitudes 68° 7' and 97° 25' east and measures about 3,214 km from north to south between the extreme latitudes and about 2,933 km from east to west between the extreme longitudes. It has a land frontier of about 15,200 km. The total length of the coastline of the mainland, Lakshadweep Islands and Andaman & Nicobar Islands is 7,516.6 km.

India has 28 states and seven territories and is home to 1.35 billion people with diversified culture, language and food habits.  Indian cuisine is also influenced by many other countries. It is known for its large assortment of dishes and its liberal use of herbs and spices. Cooking styles vary from region to region.

India has emerged as the fastest growing major economy in the world and is expected to be one of the top three economic powers of the world over the next 10-15 years, backed by its strong democracy and partnerships.

India's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to reach US$ 6 trillion by FY27 and achieve upper-middle income status on the back of digitization, globalization, favorable demographics, and reforms.

India is expected to be the third largest consumer economy as its consumption may triple to US$ 4 trillion by 2025, owing to shift in consumer behaviour and expenditure pattern, according to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report; and is estimated to surpass USA to become the second largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) by the year 2040, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

String Bio is located in the city of Bangalore, a vibrant city with a population of 7 million. The word Bangalore came from the Kannada word Bengaluru which means town of boiled beans. Bangalore, the Capital of the south Indian state of Karnataka is better known as Silicon Valley of India, a hub of most of the tech companies around the world. It is also known as Start-Up capitol of India and home to well known Biotech companies.

It is also known as the Pub City with the highest number of pubs in any Indian city and as Garden City for its year-round blossoms and greenery. The Government of Karnataka officially changed the name of the city from Bangalore to Bengaluru from 1 November 2006. Today's Bangalore is the proud host of the Indian Aeronautical Research and Development driven by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL), Indian Science and Research Organization (ISRO), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and few more public enterprises.

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

1388

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Despite of having highest GDP growth, India’s problem lies with population growth, air pollution, accessibility to clean water, low agriculture productivity, vigorous farming, natural calamities and decreasing land for food production.

Malnutrition

“Per capita nutrition supply in India among the lowest in the world”

Despite India's 50% increase in GDP since 1991, more than one third of the world's malnourished children live in India. Among these, half of the children under three years old are underweight and a third of wealthiest children are over-nutriented.

One of the major causes for malnutrition in India is economic inequality. Due to the low social status of some population groups, their diet often lacks in both quality and quantity.

 At the same time, in urban India, dining out culture in India has changed drastically, and the changing food habits of the Millennial generation has had a significant contribution towards changing food habits. Millennials or the Generation Y (people between the ages 18 and 35) make up 65% of India’s population. They are the people who are tech-savvy, are constantly exposed to the global trends and lifestyles, are well read, have extensively travelled and have high spending power.

Environmental issues

There are many environmental issues in India. Air pollution, water pollution, garbage domestically prohibited goods and pollution of the natural environment are all challenges for India. Nature is also causing some drastic effects on India. The situation was worse between 1947 through 1995. Still, India has a long way to go to reach environmental quality similar to those enjoyed in developed economies. Pollution remains a major challenge and opportunity for India.

Low Agriculture growth

Agriculture is most important sector of Indian economy and provides employment to~50% of the countries workforce. We are the largest producer of pulses, rice, wheat, etc. However, the sector faces immense challenges particularly in terms of enhancing agricultural productivity by lowering or replacing use of nitrogenous based fertilizers and reducing environmental impact.

Moreover, in India; majority of the population is now moving to cities for better living standards and there is an increased growth on the requirements for food. Data shows that there is direct correlation between the increased wages and change in population diet.

A recent report by Asia Research and Engagement (ARE) states, “This global strategy to achieve food security acknowledges the significant increase in protein consumption with population growth and affluence.” However, the environmental impact of this dietary shift is significant, and the report highlights the negative externalities, too.

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Imagine an ecologically sustainable India! String Bio vision is to create a nation built for the future that can rely on value chains that are simple, sustainable, traceable and cost-effective. At String, we are using our experience and energy to enable this possibility. Our goal is to take to markets next generation ingredients that can re-define value chains to make them more sustainable, traceable and affordable.

Our vision is an ecologically sustainable food system that does not place a huge toll on its ecosystem.

String Bio has developed and patented String Integrated Methane Platform (SIMP) for leveraging methane as raw material for producing food/feed ingredients and agricultural additives. The novelty in the work lies in leveraging newer carbon sources using advances in biology and engineering.

Methane is the second most dominant greenhouse gas emitted due to human activities. Our platform leverages whole cell biocatalysts that are designed to convert methane into various end use products.

We have developed the core technology in the process at our labs in Bangalore. Over the years we have scaled the process from POC to lab to demo to pilot scale conversion. This has allowed us to optimize the conversion efficiencies and establish the process stability with scale up.

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

String Bio’s vision will help to address the challenges of proteins supply and environment pollution.

Marine ecosystem: Currently Aquaculture industry sources proteins in an unsustainable way which has already caused >50% fish species extinct.

Our Aqua protein, is a high-quality protein that addresses the growing demand for sustainable Aqua protein for Aquaculture industries in India. It is a high-quality protein (>70% protein by weight) with high levels of essential amino acids.  It is a cost-effective and wholesome protein ingredient. It has consistent and traceable manufacturing process not affected by environmental and climatic fluctuations.  For stake holders in this industry, String Pro is of immense value as it addresses the growing need for cost-effective protein sources. 

High yield from same acre of land:

Biostimulants produced by us are known to increase plant tolerance and recovery from abiotic stresses. Hence, farmers could grow crops that give high returns from same acreage, even during stressful conditions. Biostimulants facilitates nutrient assimilation and translocation and prevents nutrient leaching or running off into neighbouring ecosystems. This could lead to higher return on investment for farmers. Use of protein hydrolysates are reported to enhance quality attributes like improved nutritional content, improved fruit colour, fruit seeding, etc.

Biostimulants help to improve soil health by fostering the development of beneficial soil microflora. Healthier soil retains water more effectively and better resists erosion. Superior soil quality could help farmer to reduce application of excess use of nitrogenous

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

The value-added products enabled using the SIMP platform address key market gaps in Food, Feed, and Agriculture markets. The gaps and USP for these markets are outlined below.

A. Food/Feed Ingredients:

There is a growing gap in India’s protein supply for both food and feed.
To elaborate, on the demand side the India’s population is projected to reach 1.73 billion by 2050 - 70% of this growth is expected to be in urban areas with high meat consumption.  On the supply side, the existing protein sources are constrained by climate variability and land/water availability.

Our first product to market, String Pro, is a high-quality protein that addresses this growing worldwide demand for sustainable protein. The protein is a high-quality protein (>70% protein by weight) with high levels of essential amino acids.  It is a cost-effective and wholesome protein ingredient.
 
The performance of the protein has been validated through trials with Aquatic and Poultry.

Our USP is:
1.cost-effective, sustainable and novel protein ingredient
2.proprietary technology platform
3.lower cost of production
4.reliable protein supply
5.easy traceability
6.environmental sustainability and,
7.cradle-to-cradle solution for a low carbon future.

B. Agricultural Additives

Agriculture is most important sector of Indian economy. To increase the reliability and stability of agricultural crop yield by less dependence on chemical fertlizers, optimizing crop management and improving resource use efficiency (i.e., land and water) under different agro-ecological conditions is a necessity.
 
Overall, our aim is to deliver a sustainable, environmentally friendly and cheap source of biostimulants for agricultural applications to improve soil fitness and plant performance.

Some of the positive impact of our innovation are:
1.Cost-effective, sustainable and novel biostimulant
2.Proprietary technology platform,
3.Lower cost of production,
4.Reliable supply,
5.Environmental sustainability

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Website

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