Start-ups are utilising bacteria and fungi to generate protein and boost agriculture

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Photo: Nicolasintravel

By Emiko Terazono

Coming to a supermarket near you: a burger patty whose ingredients are grown from the microbes found in hot volcanic springs.

Sustainable Bioproducts, a Chicago-based start-up seeking to make edible protein from extremophiles — or micro-organisms that can survive extreme environments — is one of the growing number of companies turning to the power of natural microbes to help feed a growing population and boost agriculture.

The company, whose microbes come from Yellowstone National Park’s volcanic hot springs, has raised $33m from investors including Danone of France and agricultural trader Archer Daniels Midland, and is hoping to launch protein substitutes in the US market in 12 to 18 months. …

Shared office space provider pledges to appoint lead independent director

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Adam Neumann. Photo: Jackal Pan/Visual China Group via Getty Images

By Eric Platt, James Fontanella-Khan, Adam Samson, and Philip Stafford

WeWork announced it would appoint a lead independent director by the end of the year and reduce the voting power of co-founder Adam Neumann, bowing to investor pressure as the shared workspace provider battles to dispel scepticism ahead of its initial public offering.

The group said on Friday that it would reduce Mr Neumann’s outsize control of the company by cutting his voting rights from 20 votes per share to 10 and cancel the supervoting shares entirely in the event of his death.

We Company, WeWork’s parent, said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that the decision was made “in response to market feedback”. The governance changes, however, still keep WeWork firmly under Mr Neumann’s control, the filing noted. …

‘Original and in-depth’ articles to be featured more prominently in results

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Photo: AbsolutVision

By Patricia Nilsson

Google has adjusted its search algorithms to promote news articles it considers “significant original reporting”, its latest move to support journalism following years of criticism of its role in the industry’s decline.

The world’s most popular search engine said on Thursday that stories that provided “original and in-depth” information and had required “a high degree of skill, time and effort” would be elevated in results and “may stay in a highly visible position longer”.

Google, like digital rival Facebook, has long faced hostility from parts of the news industry, which accuse it incentivising clickbait, fake news and “churnalism” — hastily rewritten stories without any original reporting. …

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