Farms to Fungi to Food: Growing the Next Generation of Alternative Protein

Solution to relief the issue of world hunger may come from the most loved foods and the most expensive foods in the planet. Boba and caviar may be the start of a new innovative solution. Several scientist and engineers are developing a new type of food called “myco-foods”. It is a small edible fungus that can be processed into products like boba and caviar with wide range of colors, texture, and flavors.

Eating fungi or mushrooms as a food is not something new. Mushrooms has been considered as one of the menus in diets across the world. Myco-foods are rich in protein and can be cultivated anywhere without needing a vast land source. It is very efficient in terms of energy and water, and it is not influenced by climate to set up fermenters. Because of that, it can be produced anywhere in the world.

So how it is Made?

First, the species of fungus needs to be determined. Aspergillus awamori is a fungus for wastewater treatment. However, research states that this mushroom can absorb nutrients from by-products and inherit their color, flavor and nutritional values. Current myco-foods developed are made from the by-products of coffee, pomegranates, carrots, tomatoes, red beets, cheese, almonds, and walnuts. The fungi eat everything, starting from sugar, organic acids, and organic materials.

The by-products are transformed into extracts before the fungi is added in warm bioreactor and stirred constantly. After a couple of days, the spores grow and formed a perfect round mycelium ball. The balls, regarding the purpose can be eater or coated with agar to get a range of textures.

Is it Delicious?

Vver the past two years, the team that create this innovation has refined the process. Comparing the myco-foods with commercially available boba and caviar. Surprisingly, both human and data from texture analyzer agreed that the characteristic of the myco-foods is identical to the real one.

The team does not want to replace boba, but to expand and develop a new range of food products. The boba can have different application besides dropping it into milk tea, it can also act as a terrific topping for cakes or can be used in a new recipe.

The innovation is just a leaping stone for other innovators to grow and nourish other source of alternative protein that is delicious, nutritious, and having a significant impact on the environment. One of the companies that also develop alternative protein (mushroom and soy) based foods is Meatless Kingdom. They produced ready-to-eat foods with authentic taste and has identical texture to the real food made with real meat. Providing a new experience for customers to try.

Source:ucdavis.edu
Image by: istockphoto.com

1 thoughts on “Farms to Fungi to Food: Growing the Next Generation of Alternative Protein

  1. Pingback: Alternative Protein 101: here what you should know! - Meatless Kingdom

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