GreenLab Partners with Ginkgo Bioworks to Scale Up Production of Brazzein, a Novel Sweetener

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GreenLab partners with Ginkgo Bioworks to scale up production of brazzein, a novel sweetener found in the fruit of the West African Oubli plant. This partnership aims to revolutionize the sweetener industry by leveraging GreenLab's technology to grow proteins in corn kernels and Ginkgo's capabilities to optimize production. By using Plant Trait Services, Protein Services, and Deployment Capabilities, GreenLab intends to be a leading supplier of brazzein to food and beverage companies, reducing market and technical risks.

  • Revolutionizing the sweetener industry with a novel sweetener like brazzein

  • Proprietary technology allowing for protein production in corn kernels

  • Successful cultivation of corn containing brazzein

  • Leveraging Ginkgo's Plant Trait Services, Protein Services, and Deployment Capabilities for scaling up production

  • Reducing market and technical risks in production through partnership with Ginkgo

  • Potential health concerns associated with artificial sweeteners

  • Competition in the sugar replacement market

  • Dependence on Ginkgo's success for pricing model

To scale up its production of brazzein, GreenLab will leverage its proprietary technology to grow proteins inside corn kernels, optimizing its process with Ginkgo's Plant Trait Services, Protein Services, and Deployment Capabilities

JONESBORO, Ark. and BOSTON, May 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- GreenLab, an emerging next generation plant-biotechnology company producing complex proteins in corn, and Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), which is building the leading platform for cell programming and biosecurity, today announced a new partnership. Together, GreenLab and Ginkgo aim to enable production of brazzein, a sweet-tasting protein found in the fruit of the native West African Oubli plant, at commercial scale. The two companies have previously partnered on a project to develop an enzyme for GreenLab's PFAS degradation application.

The global sugar replacement market is growing due to increased consumer demand. Sugar substitutes can help manage obesity, but some artificial sweeteners have been linked to various health issues including heart disease. Novel sweeteners — like brazzein, which has a sweetness factor up to 2,000 times greater than sucrose — can be used as natural substitutes for sugar in products across the food and beverage industry.

GreenLab hopes to revolutionize the sweetener industry with brazzein. Its proprietary technology allows it to grow enzymes and other proteins inside of corn kernels. By producing proteins in a cultivated crop, GreenLab can readily scale production across acres of cornfields, with little additional up-front capital and infrastructure. After the protein of interest is extracted from the kernel with minimal waste, most of the corn used will then proceed along the existing value chain, including food, feed or fuel. Thanks to its proprietary technology, GreenLab currently has two transformative enzymes in commercial production, including manganese peroxidase and laccase, and has already successfully grown corn containing brazzein.

GreenLab is leveraging Ginkgo's capabilities to scale up its production of brazzein in three ways:

  • One, using Ginkgo Plant Trait Services to improve GreenLab's expression of brazzein in the corn kernel to achieve economically-competitive levels.
  • Two, using Ginkgo Protein Services to express brazzein in a microbial chassis via precision fermentation.
  • And three, using Ginkgo Deployment Capabilities to develop downstream processes to purify brazzein from both the corn kernel and fermentation broth. 

By pursuing these pathways to brazzein production, GreenLab intends to be the preeminent supplier of brazzein to food and beverage companies, all while reducing market and technical risk.

Karen Wilson, CEO of GreenLab: "GreenLab is eager to work with Ginkgo on this novel go-to-market strategy. By using Ginkgo Plant Trait Services, Protein Services and Deployment Capabilities we will be able to satisfy the demand for brazzein in the market with less risk using Ginkgo's success based pricing model. Our existing partnership with Ginkgo has enabled this unique R&D approach for a product (brazzein) that the market desperately wants."

Sneha Srikrishnan, Senior Director of Business Development and Product Lead, Proteins, at Ginkgo Bioworks: "Our existing relationship with GreenLab has had many positive outcomes, so it made sense to continue working together! We're thrilled to build upon our partnership and get started on this new program."

Brennan Duty, Senior Director of Business Development and Product Lead, Plant Traits, at Ginkgo Bioworks added: "Together, we aim to unlock the full potential of brazzein and help create healthier alternatives to traditional sweeteners. We look forward to getting to work and combining Ginkgo's expertise in protein expression and optimization in plants and microbes alike with GreenLab's innovative approach to plant biotechnology."

Learn more about Ginkgo's Plant Trait Services, Protein Services, and Deployment Capabilities.

About Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo Bioworks is the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, providing flexible, end-to-end services that solve challenges for organizations across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to pharmaceuticals to industrial and specialty chemicals. Ginkgo Biosecurity is building and deploying the next-generation infrastructure and technologies that global leaders need to predict, detect, and respond to a wide variety of biological threats. For more information, visit and, read our blog, or follow us on social media channels such as X (@Ginkgo and @Ginkgo_Biosec), Instagram (@GinkgoBioworks), Threads (@GinkgoBioworks), or LinkedIn.

About GreenLab

GreenLab's mission is to green industry with next-generation plant biotechnology. Our platform transforms a cornfield into the factory of the future. We deliver on biotech's promise of next-generation proteins, end-to-end sustainability and unlimited scalability. GreenLab currently has two patented proteins growing in corn that are already in commercial production and is seeking partners who need to improve the cost, scale or environmental footprint of their protein biomanufacturing. Learn more at, or follow us on X as @GreenLabMfg or on LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statements of Ginkgo Bioworks

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding the capabilities and potential success of the partnership and Ginkgo's cell programming platform. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words "believe," "can," "project," "potential," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "intend," "strategy," "future," "opportunity," "plan," "may," "should," "will," "would," "will be," "will continue," "will likely result," and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release, including but not limited to: (i) volatility in the price of Ginkgo's securities due to a variety of factors, including changes in the competitive and highly regulated industries in which Ginkgo operates and plans to operate, variations in performance across competitors, and changes in laws and regulations affecting Ginkgo's business, (ii) the ability to implement business plans, forecasts, and other expectations, and to identify and realize additional business opportunities, (iii) the risk of downturns in demand for products using synthetic biology, (iv) the uncertainty regarding the demand for passive monitoring programs and biosecurity services, (v) changes to the biosecurity industry, including due to advancements in technology, emerging competition and evolution in industry demands, standards and regulations, (vi) the outcome of any pending or potential legal proceedings against Ginkgo, (vii) our ability to realize the expected benefits from and the success of our Foundry platform programs, (viii) our ability to successfully develop engineered cells, bioprocesses, data packages or other deliverables, and (ix) the product development or commercialization success of our customers. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties described in the "Risk Factors" section of Ginkgo's annual report on Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on February 29, 2024 and other documents filed by Ginkgo from time to time with the SEC. These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements, and Ginkgo assumes no obligation and does not intend to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Ginkgo does not give any assurance that it will achieve its expectations.



Stephen Lallo

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SOURCE Ginkgo Bioworks


What is GreenLab partnering with Ginkgo Bioworks for?

GreenLab is partnering with Ginkgo Bioworks to scale up production of brazzein, a novel sweetener.

What is brazzein?

Brazzein is a sweet-tasting protein found in the fruit of the West African Oubli plant.

How does GreenLab produce proteins?

GreenLab utilizes its proprietary technology to grow proteins inside corn kernels.

What benefits does brazzein offer as a sweetener?

Brazzein has a sweetness factor up to 2,000 times greater than sucrose, making it a natural substitute for sugar in various products.

How is GreenLab leveraging Ginkgo's capabilities?

GreenLab is using Ginkgo's Plant Trait Services, Protein Services, and Deployment Capabilities to scale up production of brazzein.

What are the potential risks associated with sugar substitutes?

Some artificial sweeteners have been linked to health issues, including heart disease.

Why is the global sugar replacement market growing?

The global sugar replacement market is growing due to increased consumer demand for sugar substitutes.

What is Ginkgo Bioworks' role in the partnership?

Ginkgo Bioworks is providing its expertise in protein expression and optimization to help scale up brazzein production.

What is GreenLab's goal in partnering with Ginkgo?

GreenLab aims to be a leading supplier of brazzein to food and beverage companies by reducing market and technical risks through the partnership.

Ginkgo Bioworks Holdings, Inc.


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