ChemE Ph.D. Pratish Gawand making tastebuds – and the planet – happier with startup Ardra Inc.

Natural ingredients may seem better for the planet, but that’s not always the case.

Consider rose oil. It takes thousands of kilograms of rose petals to extract a single kilogram of the popular fragrance ingredient.

“If a multinational cosmetics or consumer goods company said tomorrow, ‘We’re not going to use any artificial rose oil,’ we couldn’t grow enough roses in the world to supply such a big company,” says Pratish Gawand (ChemE PhD 1T4).

Gawand’s startup, Ardra Inc., aims to replace natural flavour ingredients in food with more sustainable alternatives manufactured using precision fermentation. Think of the fermenting tanks in a brewery, but instead of yeast, Ardra’s technology involves microbes that are genetically engineered to produce high-value compounds rather than ethanol.

Read the full story on Gawand and Ardra Inc. here.