BERKELEY, Calif. – Wild Earth, a biotech pet food and treat startup, has introduced its first product, dog treats made with clean cultured koji (Aspergillus oryzae), an ancient Asian protein and member of the fungi kingdom containing all 10 amino acids essential for dogs.

“We need new and alternative proteins to feed a growing global pet population, and also to minimize the environmental impact of feeding that growing population,” said Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt. “Koji is ideal for dogs based on its nutritional profile and sustainability, and used by Michelin-star chefs to add gourmet flavor, so our dog taste-testers loved these treats.”

Good Protein Dog Snacks are formulated by veterinarians and have nutritional benefits, such as prebiotics to promote healthy digestion and omega fatty acids for healthy skin. They do not contain animal ingredients, antibiotics, hormones, artificial preservatives, flavors or colors, and are free of corn and soy. The koji gives these treats a rich umami flavor and provides a sustainable source of protein.

“Wild Earth’s new alternative protein product is such a great example of providing consumers another choice for their pet’s nourishment, while being conscious of the environment,” said Ben Jacobs, head of ventures, Mars Petcare.

This startup cultivates its own koji through proprietary methods, using fermentation tanks to culture the protein and technology to adjust nutrients, flavor and texture. The use of koji, a plant-based protein, reduces some of the risks associated with producing meat-based food and treats, such as the inclusion of antibiotics and hormones.

Wild Earth says its formulas are created by cellular agriculture specialists and veterinarians to offer clean, humane, high-protein pet foods and treats that benefit pets as well as the environment. The company plans to release a dry dog food, which will also incorporate the koji protein, in 2019. Looking ahead, Wild Earth is working on the development of cultured meat for cats by using mouse cells.

Read more about new pet food and treat products.