By Velena Jones

WOODLAND (CBS13) – Milk might be the last thing you would expect to be produced in a room filled with test tubes and microscopes, but you’d be wrong.

“Maybe you will be drinking your milk out of a petri dish instead of cow. It won’t quite look like that,” explained Vanessa Castagna, a scientific liaison TurtleTree.

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Milk made completely from a lab could be the future of the dairy industry. It’s a move scientists say is the key to unlocking more nutrition, while helping the agricultural industry go green.

Vanessa Castagna, a scientist at TurtleTree a biotech company, is using mammalian cells from cows and humans to transform how milk is produced. The cells are isolated and stimulated by a proprietary process to make milk outside the body.

“The current agricultural industry is not sustainable. It’s not sustainable for animal health. It’s not sustainable to produce the required nutrients for the entire population. It’s not sustainable for our planet,” she explained.

TurtleTree’s goal is to produce milk that’s more nutritious and can help boost the immune system while reducing the impact on the ecosystem.

“We can develop biomimetic human milk proteins or milk components and help improve the health of infants, the elderly, or the average joe. We are focused on sports nutrition as well, so many of these milk proteins have incredibly valuable immunological benefits,” said Castagna.

You won’t be drinking a glass of this lab-made milk anytime soon. Castagna said the company still needs to go through years of regulation. But you could see them in products before the end of the year.

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“(We) provide our ingredients to help enrich certain products like chocolates or yogurt or other dairy,” she said.

Woodland spent $100,000 to help fund The Lab at AG Start, where TurtleTree operates. The lab is a shared workspace that houses multiple startup companies.

“We know that a lot of the solutions for tomorrow’s food and AG problems are going to come out of facilities just like the lab,” said City of Woodland spokesperson Spencer Bowen.

Woodland is home to over 180 food and agricultural companies but Bowen said this lab is different.

“It’s the only facility in Northern California that has commercial innovation kitchen space, wet lab space, and co-working space all in the same floor plan. It’s not cheap but it is super needed for our economy and job growth,’ he said.

It’s a drive for sustainable milk that scientists say could change the dairy industry as we know it.

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It’s not just a fun commodity, it’s vital for us,” explained Castagna.