Artificial intelligence discovers ingredients for food, supplements

The next new ingredient is not discovered on a farm or in a kitchen. It comes from deep within a computer that is constantly learning and evolving.

It’s not science fiction. This is the future of R&D.

A new generation of computer experts are combining food science and molecular biology with powerful artificial intelligence to discover natural ingredients, formulations and trends that we slow-brained humans could never have imagined.

For example, who would have thought that pineapple shared molecular similarities with cow’s milk and could be a key ingredient in a non-dairy milk drink? Or could black pepper hold the key to preventing and treating liver disease? Or soy sauce and Nutella make a fantastic flavor combination on noodles?

The AI ​​did.

Big data technologies such as natural language processing, computer vision and deep learning are used to reverse engineer ingredients from the molecule and at the computing speed of light.

“This is a huge step for humanity because it is the first time that we have natural ingredients discovered by AI. They are not designed by artificial intelligence; they are discovered by it,” says Nora Khaldi, founder and CEO of Nuritas, which uses AI to search for new bioactive peptides in plants and familiar food sources.

The AI ​​trend has been growing in the food, beverage and nutraceutical industries for about five years, as competitors race to find the next plant proteins, supercultures for fermentation and bioactives hidden in the vegetal apogy. Biotech and computational biology startups are proliferating, and a few, like NotCo, have achieved unicorn status because of this thirst for rapid innovation.

“You have the ability to bring new products to market very, very quickly if you use AI,” says Dhaval Patel, Ph.D., director of research and innovation for NemaLife, a TechBio company that uses AI microfluidics and tiny worms. to study the health benefits of new compounds.

Click on this gallery to meet some actors of this emerging space.

This story was featured in the Nutrition Business Journal Market insight problem.

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