Yes. We genetically engineer yeast to make one of the key ingredients in the Impossible Burger: “soy leghemoglobin” or “heme.” This process allows us to make it at scale with the lowest achievable environmental impact.
The heme in Impossible Burger is made using a yeast engineered with the gene for soy leghemoglobin. First, we grow yeast via fermentation. Then, we isolate the soy leghemoglobin (containing heme) from the yeast, and add it to the Impossible Burger, where it combines with other micronutrients to create delicious, meaty flavor.
While we first harvested leghemoglobin directly from soy plants, we realized that in order to make enough plant-based heme to feed the world -- and avoid the destructive environmental impact of animal agriculture -- we would need to make it using fermentation. By producing heme in yeast, we also avoid digging up soy plants to harvest the root nodules, which would promote erosion and release carbon stored in the soil.