Bezos Earth Fund Opens Sustainable Protein Centre In North Carolina

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Bezos Earth Fund Opens Sustainable Protein Centre In North Carolina

The Bezos Earth Fund is confident that its new Bezos Center for Sustainable Protein at North Carolina State University will become a 'biomanufacturing hub for dietary proteins that are environmentally friendly, healthy, tasty, and affordable'.

The new facility opened at the university at the end of May, with $30 million (€27.7 million) set to be invested in the site over the next five years. The Bezos Earth fund is the brainchild of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Funding will focus on three core areas – plant-based products; precision fermentation to produce proteins and nutrients that can be used in food formulations; and cultivated meat grown from animal cells.

'Uniquely Positioned'

“As a land-grant university in a state with significant animal agriculture, NC State is uniquely positioned to help shape the future of sustainable food production,” commented Chancellor Randy Woodson.

“We’re thankful for the support from the Bezos Earth Fund that will help drive economic and workforce development in this critical area of sustainable protein production in order to feed a growing world population in an economically and environmentally sustainable way."


The opening of the new facility forms part of the Bezos Earth Fund's commitment to establishing a network of open-access research and development centers focused on sustainable protein alternatives.

The university is working with a number of academic partners, including N.C. A&T State University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Duke University, and Forsyth Tech Community College, at the facility, along with more than 20 industry partners.

Biomanufacturing Firms

It is also confident that it will provide an opportunity for biomanufacturing firms to locate in North Carolina, bolstering both the local economy and jobs market.

“This is a significant opportunity for North Carolina to not only be a state with a thriving animal-sourced foods sector, but also one where it is a powerhouse in complementary proteins, building new industry and driving economic growth for the state,” added Bill Aimutis, co-principal investigator on the grant and co-director of the new centre.


“With the centre, we are looking to develop solutions that will provide greater diversity of choices for consumers that are both tasty and sustainable.”

This announcement builds on the Bezos Earth Fund’s $1 billion grant commitment to help transform food and agricultural systems around the world, without impacting the planet.

“Food production is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, so it’s critical we find ways to feed a growing population without degrading the planet,” noted Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the Earth Fund.

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