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BIOMILQ produces first milk from cultured human cells


US-based startup BIOMILQ says it has produced the world’s first milk made from lab-cultured human mammary cells. The product, made by culturing human mammary cells in the laboratory, has a similar composition of “proteins, complex carbohydrates, fatty acids and other bioactive lipids” to breast milk. BIOMILQ stresses that its product is not identical to breastmilk, the composition of which can be influenced by hormones, baby behaviour, skin contact and so on. Furthermore, it does not contain the antibodies that breast milk does.

BIOMILQ hopes that its product will eventually be a closer replacement for breast milk than formula based on cow’s milk; it also points to the environmental impacts of cow’s milk formula. The founders stress that they do not want to worsen the existing stigma around feeding babies with formula, but rather want to offer more options for parents who need alternatives to breastfeeding.

Media coverage includes:

Read BIOMILQ’s announcement here. To learn more about the laboratory process, watch VICE News’ video The Breast Milk Business Is Booming. See also the TABLE explainer What is food security? Our report Gut feelings and possible tomorrows: (where) does animal farming fit? also discusses artificial infant milk formula in one of its scenarios.

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