(WASHINGTON POST) – In the world of plant milks, the base ingredient is everything. The variety is dizzying: cashew milk, soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk, even macadamia milk. We call them milks, but they don’t act like cow’s milk. Some taste bitter when heated or separate when cooled. Until recently, none had mimicked actual dairy.
That was exactly what NotCo, a start-up founded in Chile, wanted to do. Over several months starting in 2019, scientists there developed artificial-intelligence technology to find plants that could function like cow’s milk at a molecular level. There were times, however, when the humans had to intervene — like when casein, the main protein in cow’s milk, was simulated by an algae that turned the drink an unappetizing shade of blue.
Then the scientists landed on something promising, and not blue. “This is freaking milk!” Matias Muchnick, the company’s chief executive, recalled saying after his first taste. “What is it?”
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