Mycoprotein for optimal texture and taste
Ondernemers sociëteit voedingsindustrie
B2B Communications
Wallbrink Crossmedia
Check this out

Mycoprotein for optimal texture and taste

  • 12 September 2022
  • By: Martijn Bekker en Theo Verkleij , Wageningen Food & Biobased Research

Current meat replacements mainly use vegetable ingredients as a basis, such as soya, peas or wheat. The intrinsic product properties, including side effects and specific texture properties, are not always to the consumer's liking. 

In recent years, scientists and companies have done a lot of research on fungal biomass (mycoproteins) and bacterial biomass and proteins. It is now possible, particularly through fermentation, to convert carbohydrate-rich raw materials into a source of proteins and/or lipids. These proteins are used in the development of meat substitutes and other vegetarian/ vegan products. This idea is not entirely new. A product based on fermentation that has been on supermarket shelves for almost four decades is Quorn. 

Three examples

A new player on the market, for example, is MicroHarvest from Hamburg. It focuses on using bacteria to provide proteins for food applications. Their growth medium is sugar derived from side streams from the agricultural and food industries. This sugar is converted into microbial biomass through fermentation. The water phase is separated from the microbial biomass in order to harvest the cells. To improve the shelf life and stability of the protein, they must then be dehydrated. 

Another example is the Protein Brewery, setting up a plant for the production and application of fungal biomass. They use micro-organisms such as yeasts, bacteria and moulds as the basis for the development of new products. The patent database indicates that the focus is on fermentation at a higher temperature. Expectations are that this will result in a higher production rate and a lower burden of spoiling micro-organisms during production. 

A third example, which is discussed in more detail below, is the start-up company Enough. They are also building a factory to produce mycoprotein on a larger scale. The new raw material is intended for the production of the sustainable meat alternative ingredient 'Abunda': a protein- and fibre-rich product to be used in applications where a meaty texture is desired. By the end of 2023, this plant is expected to produce 10,000 tonnes of mycoprotein. The goal is to scale this up to 50,000 tonnes in 2027.


The Abunda process uses a natural sugar source and recycles all remaining nutrients in a bio-ethanol production process. Information available to date shows that this results in a much more efficient use of water and feed than meat production. For beef, this means a 97% reduction in the usage of these precious resources; for chicken, the gains are 55% less water and 80% less feed use. Carbon emissions per kilogram of product produced are 82% lower compared to beef and 44% lower compared to chicken. Resource efficiency can be further optimised in the future by using side streams for production. Given the high impact of livestock production on global greenhouse gas emissions (14.5% according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)) these processes, if applied on a large scale, could make a significant contribution to reducing global warming.


The research continues. Extrusion of mycoprotein in combination with various vegetable protein sources appears to result in new texture and taste properties. With this knowledge, other vegan products with a fibre-like structure can be made in the future. The emphasis in current research is on formulating chicken-like alternatives. Product development is done using specific additives, such as hydrocolloids. Concrete results are already available of an end product that closely resembles chicken in texture. The finesse of the taste is currently being worked on. The potential of the Abunda process is not limited to food applications. Along with the French company Lactips, the researchers of Wageningen Food & Biobased Research are studying the application of mycoprotein for biodegradable plastics. The first results are promising. Albunda is expected to launch a new series of food products on the market in early 2023. 


The number of fungus-based products on supermarket shelves is still limited, certainly in comparison with the rapidly growing range of plant-based meat alternatives. But that is about to change. It won't be long before a wide range of new vegan, hybrid plant-mycoprotein products form a relevant part of the total food market.

Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie 2022