BALTIMORE — Conagen Inc., a synthetic biology R&D company with large-scale bio-manufacturing capabilities, and Natáur LLC, a producer of bio-based compounds, announced a partnership on March 16 for the commercial production of a sustainable and natural source of taurine. 

Taurine is an ingredient in products across a range of market sectors and product categories including food, feed, nutraceuticals, energy drinks, infant formula, pet foods and personal care.

Taurine is essential for cardiovascular, skeletal muscle, vision and nervous system function. As the awareness of the ingredient’s benefits increases, so has its demand. Taurine exists naturally in meat and dairy products, but is not found in plant-based proteins. With the rise in vegan and vegetarian lifestyles for humans and pets, the demand for taurine supplements is increasing. 

Natáur uses its synthetic biology technology to allow microbes to make taurine. The company’s partnership with Conagen will provide the capability to produce taurine on a multi-ton scale, according to Natáur.

“We are thrilled to partner with Conagen on the sustainable production of taurine,” said Kathleen Turano, chief executive officer of Natáur. “Conagen has the bio-manufacturing expertise and scale-up production capabilities to quickly get natural taurine into the marketplace.”

Natáur’s technology allows taurine to be produced sustainably by fermentation instead of using fossil fuels, which is the more commonly used method to extract the ingredient. The company’s proprietary system utilizes sugar and other natural ingredients instead of toxic chemicals or animal byproducts which reduces carbon emissions by 10 times and makes it possible to produce taurine in larger volumes, according to the company.

“We are impressed with the depth of knowledge and microbial engineering that Natáur has brought to natural taurine synthesis,” said Casey Lippmeier, senior vice president of innovation at Conagen. “We are pleased to be partnering with them as we transition this market to the production of sustainable taurine.”

Read more about product development, ingredients and formulation.