Berkeley-Based Startup Wants to Feed Your Dog Fungus

Source: Berkley Insider

Berkeley biotech startup Wild Earth is aiming to shake up the $30 billion pet food industry by serving dogs and cats a diet of fungus and lab-grown mouse meat. The products, according to Wild Earth co-founder Ryan Bethencourt, are environmentally friendlier, safer, higher quality and more nutritious than conventional pet foods. “Most people think the meat in pet food is the same as what we eat, but it’s really not,” Bethencourt said while sitting in his company’s unfinished 4,000-square-foot West Berkeley lab and office space, complete with microscopes, incubators and a 100-liter bioreactor used to grow a fungus called koji, the basis for the company’s first available dog treat product. Much of the meat used in pet food is actually “meal” made from ground-up carcasses that would otherwise be discarded.