Why did we choose Fruit Wine as our target?
First of all, there is no doubt that alcohol has a profound historical background. Evidence of alcoholic beverages has been found dating from 5400-5500 BC. This rich culture precipitation enables us to excavate the potential fruit wine market has. Through the questionnaires we released, we found that the majority of people are in the habit of drinking alcohol with 51.14 percent. The high frequency of alcohol consumption leads to a sound idea that the market of wine is prosperous.
Second, the preparation process of traditional fruit wines is expensive and cumbersome. This is probably the greatest efficiency issue facing fruit wine today in the production process. During our research, we discovered that majority of the pectinases available on the market are complex enzymes obtained from Aspergillus fermentation, and the price per 1 kg of pectinase varies from 100-250 RMB. The high cost of pectinase is not conducive to the further development of the food manufacturing industry and other fields.
And, at the moment there are most of the fruit stagnated after the epidemic exists. We hope that by reducing the cost of making fruit wine, we can lower the threshold for selling fruit wine, which in turn will allow wineries to buy more fruit and slow down the stagnation of fruit sales.
What is the difference between our new fruit wine yeast and the traditional one?
We wanted to apply CRISPR-Cas technology to successfully heterologously express endo-pgaA, an endogalacturonase gene from Aspergillus niger SC323, in fructooligosaccharide yeast. So, we can obtain a strain that is capable of both pectin degradation and alcohol fermentation. This will help to explore the development of multifunctional fruit wine yeast and reduce the costs in the production of fruit juice and fruit wine. It also contributed to the development of food industry production and modern brewing engineering.
To find the demand for fruit wine yeast in the wine market, we went to the winery in Shanghai. The most significant need in the wine industry is to reduce the time in the fermentation process and costs in wine manufacturing. When we discussed our fruit wine yeast with workers, they thought it was a good innovation because of its economic benefits. Our yeast has significant academic meaning as well. Through an interview with Dr. Xiaoyu Han, we found that even if our product didn't make profit in the market, it could inspire our team and other researchers more research directions. We are currently evaluating the possibility of improving yeast's antioxidant and antibacterial properties in two different directions.
We defined our target market by interviewing several companies' principals and communicating with some experts. First, our yeast can reduce water pollution. When making wine in the factory, the content of organic and suspended matter and alcohol in the wastewater discharged sometimes may block the pipes. Therefore, saccharomyces cerevisiae with pectinase function can make the produced wine clearer and reduce the pollution caused by effluent discharge from factories. Second, our yeast has strong market competitiveness. We inserted the functional genes of pectinase into the saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this case, no matter how efficient or economically beneficial, the time will definitely be saved without affecting the fruit wine quality.
For the current stage, we have a solid idea for our product. Our goal is to make a pectin-degradable multifunctional wine yeast. For that purpose, we chose the CRISPR-Cas9 technology. Using CRISPR-Cas9 technology, we achieved the heterologous expression of endo-PGAA in wine yeast, the polygalacturonase gene from Aspergillus Niger SC323, and obtained a strain that can degrade pectin and ferment alcohol.
We, however, came across some problems about the economic benefits of our products. Even if we successfully bring out our neo-saccharomyces cerevisiae in the end, the selling price may not be lower. This is because the "middlemen" may keep the original selling price to obtain more profits. Therefore, the number of people who buy fruit wines will keep constant, and we won't make any difference in results. Thus, the economic benefits we will obtain won't change because of the continuous selling price of fruit wine.
Our business activities will be divided into three stages.
To begin with, we plan to use the basic knowledge of our product to let people learn more about gene editing and understand the difference between gene editing and transgenesis, which could reduce the misunderstanding of gene-editing food. Then we want to promote our products by entering the yeast market and discovering the new potential customer group. Here are the steps that we want to do to promote our products:
First, we will make videos about our products and research conceptions for basic gene-editing knowledge. Subsequently, we will publicize them on the internet、community and other platforms, so everyone will understand our products and ideas easily; We also have sold related products, such as face masks, flowers, handbooks etc. to expand our reach. Besides, we consulted some related companies to learn from their experience and gain support to confirm the developing direction of our products.
First, we need to test the functions of our products. Then, based on completing the above activities, we plan to cooperate with yeast companies or wineries to sign a long-term contract. Then we are to prepare and plan the future promotion of our products.
After all the above activities are completed, we will try to insert the lyase gene into saccharomyces cerevisiae to improve the bacteriostasis ability of fruit wine. After the tests reach the standard, we will produce a large scale of the new multifunctional yeast. Moreover, we will develop our product line and apply them in the fruit wine market and varieties of the yeast market. We will continue to conduct new research, find new partners, and do wider propaganda, to expand the boundary of sources of revenue.
In terms of HR, as our future yeast functions, upgrade and taste improve, our project needs instructions from experts in synthetic biology, professional winemakers, and marketing. We also need experts with extensive sales experience, especially those with years of experience working in the yeast industry.
Furthermore, we plan to communicate with Angel Yeast Co, Ltd. in the second stage for technical support. We also pay careful attention to the total cost of the entire team operation, including but not limited to the resources of the experimental infrastructure, labor costs, and expenses incurred in the R&D and production periods. Therefore, series of financing methods such as bank loans, discovering investors, etc., are necessary for our future development.
First，we will collect customer information and build a robust, cloud-based customer database. We will try to meet every need of our clients. In addition to customer feedback on our products, we will also include net worth, etc. These needs will be essential to maintain our relationship with our clients.
Second, we will summarize and analyze the current operational effectiveness of the team. We will provide annual reports（10-K） to all of our customers. By analyzing the P&L and balance sheet, we can give the client a clearer picture of the team's current operations. This will allow our clients to get to know us to a greater extent.
Third, we should keep in touch with our clients. We can provide our clients with contacts with us so that they can reach us more easily. We will give our clients who have a long-term relationship with us specific discounts. Also, these clients will be the first to be notified every time our team has a significant decision or a new product. We have to produce a not only high-quality product but also establish good after-sales service.
Our customers are mainly divided into two segments： wine cellar company and yeast company.
The wine cellar company may be interested in our technology and products because they need an easy way to make wine.
Yeast companies need to constantly develop new yeast to meet the needs of different yeast types in the market. We can provide them with wine yeast to help them gain more market share in the brewing yeast market. The company should provide the resources of yeast. We can partner with a yeast company and constantly develop a new master for them. And they will replicate our final yeast and sell them in turn. On the one hand，it saves us the cost of publicity and avoids the problem of not being able to sell out the yeast due to our lack of reputation.
There are two existing ways to get in touch with us: WeChat and E-mail. Both of them are pretty convenient and effective ways. Or we can communicate with our customers face to face. These available communication channels will be used by our team so that everyone can benefit from them.