It is apparent that genetic manipulation can give the technologist increased control of the production of biological products, both upstream and downstream. However, this approach to biotechnology in the food industry has certain disadvantages which restrict its wide-spread application. Firstly, to make use of genetic technology, it is necessary that the gene coding for the protein of interest has been identified and isolated. This requires a significant investment of time, money and expertise on fundamental scientific research. Few companies in the food sector, other than large multi-nationals, have the resources or the specialist facilities required to carry out this type of work. To a certain extent, increased collaboration between food companies and public research centres or universities will help to overcome such problems. Secondly, the acceptability of food-related uses of genetic manipulation is of concern to the general public and to the regulatory authorities. The FDA are currently taking the view that recombinant proteins which are "substantially similar" to those which are known to be safely consumed in food, including those with minor variations in structure and function, will not require further safety testing (Kessler et al, 1993). However, they would not encourage the use of known toxins and allergens, even if found naturally in certain foods. For those proteins which are not normally consumed in the diet, Kessler et al state that "the degree of testing of these new proteins should be commensurate with any safety concern raised by the objective characteristics of the protein". Proteins which have no history of food use may therefore require extensive testing, depending on their known functions and properties. Some recombinant protein products are now ready for commercial use by the food industry. Indeed, bovine chymosin cloned and expressed in microorganisms has already received regulatory approval in some countries, including the UK and the USA (Law & Mulholland, 1991). In addition, a recombinant version of bovine somatotropin, a hormone for increasing milk production, has recently been approved for use in the USA (Fox, 1993) The number of recombinant products used by the food industry is thus set to increase. The use of genetic manipulation to facilitate downstream recovery is therefore a realistic proposition.

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