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Twig sprouts from stealth to test ingredients with AI and robots

Image credit: Twig

Twig, a bioengineering startup based in London, is emerging from stealth today with a £3m fundraise.

The startup is using AI and robotics to find sustainable replacements for harmful ingredients like palmitic acid, isoprene and acetone out of bio-fermented bacteria cells.

Whilst in stealth for the last five months, the biotech has used its computerised solution to test “thousands of strains”. Traditional methods can take four to 10 years, “cost millions” and still potentially have no luck.

There are three core components of its biotech process. First, its bio tool constructs the “building blocks” of ingredients. Next, robots then handle and examine the bacteria. Finally, its AI joins together the information produced by the bio tool and the robots.

The AI can also suggest refinements to achieve higher-quality outcomes.

“Many of the biggest little ingredients that go into the products we use in our daily lives are hugely damaging for the planet,” said Dr Russ Tucker, CEO and co-founder of Twig.

“Twig is bioengineering better – through the right combination of AI and automation, we can deliver a step-change in bioengineering, driving a global transition from unsustainably resourced ingredients to bio-fermented ingredients in a way that benefits everyone – people, producers, and the planet,” added Tucker, who previously co-founded Oxford-based food tech company Ivy Farm Technologies.

Twig, which is based in King’s Cross, has a team of 10 people. Founded in 2022, Twig’s £3m was provided by Project A, Seedcamp, Zero Carbon Capital, UKI2S, Gaingels and angels via HackCapital.

Oliver Sexton, investor at UKI2S, said: “Twig is using biology to make a vast array of products using entirely sustainable alternatives to petrochemicals. Its focus on moving manufacturing to a low-impact footing is core to our planet’s healthy future.”

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