Saving the World with (Vegan) Science

Presented at 33C3 (2016), Dec. 29, 2016, 9:15 p.m. (30 minutes)

Describing the science behind new high tech vegan foods which will replace animal agriculture. I will also discuss the potential impact to lessen the severity of climate change and give an update on the Real Vegan Cheese biohacker project. Climate change is the most pressing issues ever faced by humans. While many people are aware of the need for renewable energy, electric vehicles and more efficient homes and manufacturing, fewer people are aware that animal agriculture is a major issue which must be addressed. In fact animal agriculture is one of the highest impact human activities, producing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental damage on par with worldwide transportation and industrial manufacturing. Rather than convincing people to give up animal products, some groups (academic, industrial and biohackers) are using science to produce near-identical, or in some cases identical, replacements for these products. Replacing animal products will greatly reduce the environmental impact of our diets, without making people give up the food they desire. I will discuss various approaches including plant protein databases used for engineering realistic animal product replacement, production of proteins in genetically modified microorganisms, and culturing of animal cells without the growing of a whole animal. The science behind these approaches, potential impact, and progress by various players in these fields will be presented. Finally I give a progress update on the Real Vegan Cheese project, which is run out of biohacker spaces in the SF bay area and aims to produce real cheese from engineered yeast.


  • Benjamin Rupert
    Chemist working on energy storage and Real Vegan Cheese I am a PhD chemist who has worked on energy storage, solar energy, and technologies related to nuclear disarmament. I am also an animal rights activist and biohacker working on producing milk proteins in yeast in order to make vegan cheese which is identical to the animal derived version. Also the author of a popular paper describing turning methamphetamine in to sudafed.