mung bean sprouts

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German Scientists Study Mung Beans as Promising Climate-Resilient Solution for Plant-Based Meat

New research carried out by German scientists at The University of Bonn and Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV into plant protein extraction methods highlights the potential use of climate-resilient crops, such as mung beans, for plant-based meat. According to the researchers, soy is still the most commonly used legume for protein. However, the acceptance of mung bean protein isolate as a novel food by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has created an opportunity to explore an alternative option, thereby expanding the protein sources. To understand whether mung beans were an optimal source for protein isolates, the researchers studied three plant protein extraction methods at different extraction pH levels: isoelectric precipitation (IP), micellization (MP), and a hybrid of both (HP). They measured …


a graphic of a brown cow and a mark on its back that measures the wound inflicted to take a live cells sample

© Mosa Meat

New Scientific Review by Mosa Meat Discusses Challenges in Cell Biology for Cultivated Meat

A new scientific review, Advances and Challenges in Cell Biology for Cultured Meat, by the Cell Biology team at Dutch biotech company Mosa Meat, highlights the importance of a detailed understanding and accurate manipulation of cell biology in designing cultivated meat bioprocesses.  Despite significant interest and breakthroughs in the field, the paper argues that numerous challenges remain at all stages of biomanufacturing, including the cell biology process.  To shed light on the advancements in this area, the review focuses explicitly on identifying suitable starting cell types, tuning proliferation and differentiation conditions, and optimizing cell-biomaterial interactions for creating nutritious and enticing cultivated meat products.  Additionally, the paper explores the emerging field of cultivated meat and its potential to revolutionize meat production if coordinated scientific efforts solve the …


University of Hohenheim develops fish alternatives made from microalgae

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Researchers Develop Microalgae-Based Fish Alternatives, Offering “Everything Fish Can & More”

As concerns about overfishing increase, scientists at Germany’s University of Hohenheim are developing microalgae-based fish alternatives. Unlike many plant-based fish products currently on the market, the microalgae-based fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, an important nutrient found in conventional fish. It is also an excellent source of protein and other nutrients, leading the researchers to claim that microalgae “can offer everything that fish can – and so much more”. Other advantages of microalgae include its ability to bind carbon dioxide and the fact that it can be grown regionally, eliminating the need for long-distance shipping. However, there are also some disadvantages; for example, microalgae has a very strong taste of old fish, which could be off-putting for many consumers. To counter this, the researchers …


Cheese from yellow peas

© University of Nottingham

Researchers Making Cheese From Yellow Peas Receive £300K From Innovate UK

The University of Nottingham and its spinoff The Good Pulse Company have received funding from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, to further their research into making plant-based cheese from yellow peas. The sum of over £300,000 will allow the researchers to develop commercial processes for the cheese alternatives, which are produced using UK-grown peas to make them as sustainable as possible. The products are also said to be far more nutritious than many vegan cheeses currently on the market, with a higher protein content and no need for modified starches or artificial additives. The project has previously received over £370,000 in funding from Big Idea Ventures and leading scientific research organisation Rothamsted Research. So far, the researchers have developed over 100 plant-based cheese prototypes, …


© Department of Food Science - University of Copenhagen

Study Shows the Potential of Natural Fermentation to Make Realistic Plant-Based Cheese

In new University of Copenhagen research, scientists demonstrated the potential of natural fermentation to produce climate-friendly plant-based cheese with similar sensory properties as its dairy counterpart. Making realistic plant-based cheese has been challenging since plant proteins behave differently than proteins found in milk. The study highlights that cheese producers add starch, coconut oil, and flavorings to achieve firm textures and dairy-like flavors. However, the research, led by scientist Carmen Masiá in collaboration between the Department of Food Science and microbial ingredients supplier Chr. Hansen shows that natural fermentation and bacteria produce dairy-free cheeses with a firm texture and improved taste, aroma, and mouthfeel. “Fermentation is an incredibly powerful tool to develop flavor and texture in plant-based cheeses. In this study, we show that bacteria can …


Plant-based tacos

© Zess

Plant-Based Diets Combat the Obesity and Climate Crises, Says Top EU Scientific Advisor

Plant-based diets promote human health, combat climate change, and foster a more sustainable food system, highlights Eric Lambin, a member of the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors and co-author of Towards Sustainable Food Consumption. In a recent interview published in Horizon magazine, Lambin, a geography and sustainability science professor at UCLouvain, Belgium, discussed the need for a more sustainable and healthy food system.  “We are now facing a public health crisis – with widespread overweight, obesity and malnutrition issues — and a global environmental crisis,” he told Horizon. To tackle obesity and climate change, Lambin recommends shifting towards plant-based diets, emphasizing legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, reducing meat consumption, and prioritizing sustainably sourced fish and seafood. He also noted the need to reduce …


Queen Margaret University develops alternative to palm oil

© Queen Margaret University

Scottish University Develops Sustainable & Clean Label Alternative to Palm Oil

Scientists at Scotland’s Queen Margaret University have developed a healthier and more sustainable alternative to palm oil. Called PALM-ALT, the ingredient is fully plant-based, made from a byproduct of the linseed industry along with fibre and rapeseed oil. Palm oil is considered problematic due to its environmental impact, with palm plantations a key driver of deforestation and habitat destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia. Despite this, the ingredient is still widely used in the food industry and elsewhere, as a replacement with the same properties is currently not available at a competitive cost. The development of a more sustainable alternative has the potential to reduce transport emissions as well as deforestation; PALM-ALT can be made exclusively with ingredients sourced from within the UK and the EU, …


Hen running on grass


These Italian Researchers Are Developing Chicken Meat From a Feather

Researchers from an Italian university are studying how to obtain chicken meat from a feather. The project taking place via professors Luciano Conti and Stefano Maria Biressi at the University of Trento was assigned and financed by the Italian Save the Chickens Foundation, which contacts vegconomist with the news. Researcher Nike Schiavo, MSc Biotechnology, is overseeing the experiments for the project and is currently completing the draft report, according to the foundation’s representative. She explains that cells are obtained from “feathers obtained through petting the chick” rather than from feathers that have fallen to the ground spontaneously. “The cells that we manage to extract from the feathers grow well and so far we have managed to expand them for a few months, obtaining tens of …


two scientists working at germany's bluu seafood labs

Image courtesy of Bluu Seafood

Good News for Food System Innovation as the UK Rejoins Horizon Europe

A new agreement has allowed the UK to rejoin the EU’s Horizon Europe research program as an associate member, in a move that could help to propel food system innovation in the country. After previously leaving Horizon Europe due to Brexit, UK researchers will now have access to all the program’s funding opportunities once again, with the exception of the European Innovation Council (EIC) fund. A considerable percentage of Horizon Europe funding goes to food-related projects; for example, the program announced €32 million in funding for sustainable protein research in 2021, and another €25 million for cultivated and fermented proteins in 2022. The EU also funded the five-year University of Copenhagen-led PROTEIN2FOOD project, which aimed to increase the number of plant-based protein products available in …


Analytical tools could improve the properties of alt proteins

© Agilent Technologies

How Analytical Tools Could Help Alt Proteins Replicate the Flavor of Meat

Analytical tools widely used in chemistry could have the potential to help alt protein products achieve taste parity with meat, Lorna De Leoz of Agilent Technologies has told Food Manufacture. In particular, a tool known as Liquid Chromatography with Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS) could help to improve the properties of plant-based and cultivated products. LC/MS is already widely used across several industries, including in the analysis of pharmaceuticals and pesticides. However, the ability of the technology to analyze the molecular makeup of a product could also allow for improvements in several areas of alt meat production, including flavor, nutritional value, and aroma. By using LC/MS, researchers can compare the compounds in alternative proteins to those in conventional meat, including the ones responsible for salty, bitter, and …


Bag of onions

©Joanna Stołowicz on Unsplash

Fermented Onions Unlock Natural ‘Meaty’ Flavors in Plant-Based Alternatives

Plant-based meat alternatives have gained popularity among consumers seeking to reduce their meat consumption. However, replicating the savory flavors and aromas of traditional meat has posed a significant challenge, often requiring the use of synthetic additives.  A recent study published in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a nonprofit organization chartered by the US Congress, presents a promising solution: the fermentation of onions, chives, and leeks with common fungi to naturally recreate meat-like scents and flavors. Synthetic vs. natural To make plant-based meat alternatives taste more like real meat, manufacturers frequently incorporate precursor ingredients found in meat that transform into flavor agents during cooking. These flavorings are typically prepared synthetically or through chemical processes, preventing them from being labeled as “natural” in many …


An AI generated image of microbes

© Solar Foods

European Innovation Council Funds Solar Foods-Led Consortium Creating Milk Protein from CO2 and Electricity

From over 400 contesting teams, a research consortium led by Finnish company Solar Foods to produce sustainable milk protein from CO2 and electricity has been selected by the European Innovation Council’s Pathfinder Challenge 2022.  The challenge, which seeks cutting-edge research projects that could achieve breakthroughs in their respective fields, will invest €5.5 million in the consortium’s four-year HYDROCOW project. Solar Foods will work with the University of Groningen, RWTH Aachen University, and FGen AG, a subsidiary of Ginkgo Bioworks, to develop a novel biotechnology platform independent from agriculture and photosynthesis, to create sustainable food, materials, medicines, and chemical production.  A groundbreaking technology HYDROCOW aims to develop a carbon-neutral system by genetically modifying hydrogen-oxidizing microbes to produce beta-lactoglobulin using CO2 and electricity instead of traditional fermentation solutions that use agricultural feedstocks …


Plant based grilled burger patty with grill marks and rock salt isolated on white. Top view.

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UK Researchers Unveil Microgel Breakthrough That Makes Plant-Based Meat Juicy and Appealing 

Professor Anwesha Sarkar from the University of Leeds and her scientific team have discovered a simple solution to make plant-based meat more palatable: microgels. According to these scientists, one of the “key bottlenecks for consumer acceptability” has been the dry texture and lack of moisture of plant-based meat. But using a process called microgeletion, they can create individual microgels of water and lubricants in dry plant protein used for foods. These capsules, under pressure (biting), explode, thus changing the dry texture of plant-based meat. “What we have done is converted the dry plant protein into a hydrated one, using the plant protein to form a spider-like web that holds the water around the plant protein,” explains Professor Sarkar. Only water and heat Sarkar explains that microgeletion involves …


Calamari rings

© Екатерина -

Scientists Develop 3D-Printed Calamari Rings from Microalgae and Mung Bean Protein

Researchers at the National University of Singapore have developed vegan calamari rings using microalgae, mung bean proteins, and 3D printing technology. They claim that the new vegan calamari rings are tasty, high in protein, and have the potential for commercialization. The team, which aims to create alternative proteins to address overfishing and food security, unveiled their NPD at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2023. “We need to be prepared from an alternative protein point of view, especially here in Singapore, where over 90% of the fish is imported,” said Poornima Vijayan, a graduate student presenting the work at ACS. Starting with calamari According to Huang Dejian, the project’s lead researcher, plant-based options for seafood frequently fall short in terms of nutritional value, taste, and …


Giract Best PhD Thesis Award in Flavor Research

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Giract Opens Applications for Best PhD Thesis Award in Flavor Research

Giract, a market research and business consultancy for the food and beverage ingredients industry, has opened applications for the 14th edition of its Best PhD Thesis Award in Flavor Research. The award has been created to promote flavor research among European PhD students, with the aim of raising awareness of career paths in the industry and increasing Europe’s talent pool in the field. It is open to students from across the EU, along with those from Iceland, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the UK. This year’s award will be sponsored by Ajinomoto, Angel Yeast, DSM-Firmenich, Givaudan, Kerry, Lallemand Bio-Ingredients, Lesaffre International, and PepsiCo. Previous editions of the award are said to have been successful for both students and sponsors.   €5000 prize The …


© EverGrain Ingredients

Study Explores Benefits of Spent Barley Protein

A peer-reviewed scientific study has found that EverPro, said to be the world’s only upcycled barley protein and described by the company as one of the world’s most sustainable proteins, to be one of the most digestible proteins available. The study found a higher uptake of the amino acids methionine and tryptophane with EverPro compared to pea protein, and noted that overall absorption speeds were similar to both pea and whey proteins. EverPro combines barley with a small amount of rice protein, which may somewhat improve uptake of amino acids; however, overall uptake was slightly lower than for pea protein. Study participants described EverPro as well-tolerated, with minimal gastrointestinal symptoms reported. Furthermore, consuming a shake made with the barley protein led to a slightly lower …


Lupini or sweet lupin beans


Is Lupin the Next Big Plant Protein? Newly Found Gene in Sweet Lupin Opens Doors for High-Protein Crops

An international team of researchers recently identified the “sweetness gene” responsible for low alkaloid levels (not bitter) in lupins. This discovery could accelerate the development of new bitter-free crops and another protein source for plant-based foods.  A legume from the family Fabaceae, Lupin rivals soybean in protein content (44%). They are high in fiber and low in sugars. Moreover, lupin crops are climate tolerant and have a great potential to recover poor soils. But this legume naturally accumulates bitter and toxic alkaloids unpleasant for the human palate. For decades, farmers have grown a sweet lupin variety at a small scale since crops can cross-pollinate and produce bitter lupins. But with this game-changing gene, farmers can grow sweet white lupin continuously and domesticate wilder varieties with …


vegane Gummibärchen stehen auf weißer Fläche

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Canadian Researchers Receive Funding to Disrupt Gelatin Market with Pea-Based Alternative

Nonprofit organization Natural Products Canada (NPC) is contributing $78,430 to support a novel plant-based gelatin project that could disrupt the gelatin market with a substitute for the growing vegan and halal demand. In 2022, Dr. Lingyun Chen and her team at the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta found a process to create a plant-based gelatin substitute from pea protein.  Described as a “powerful” alternative, the novel gelatin changes easily from liquid to gel state and vice versa — a feature that could optimize industrial applications. Additionally, it contains more proteins than existing plant-based substitutes. The product is patent pending. Huge market for plant-based gelatin The project aims to evaluate how this new pea-protein-based gelatin performs in real food applications such …


Scientist discover algae that contain vitamin B12

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Scientists Discover B12-Rich Algae Promising Natural Supplements for Vegan Diets

Scientists at Cambridge University have discovered that certain algae are rich sources of vitamin B12, claiming they are suitable for producing natural B12-boosting supplements.   Vitamin B12, missing in vegan diets, is an essential micronutrient that manufactures blood and nerve cells. Its deficiency can lead to muscle weakness, fatigue, nausea, and weight loss. It can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as an autoimmune disorder called pernicious anemia. The elderly, pregnant, and lactating women are at particular risk when exposed to low doses. In the UK, almost 1.5% of the population is vegan, meaning 2.5 million people rely on supplements to get the vitamin. According to the European Journal of Nutrition, vegan diets supply only a fraction of the B12 required — about 0.5 micrograms per day, which …


vegetables in plastic cling wrap

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Researchers in China Develop Edible, Biodegradable, Transparent Packaging From Biocellulose

Scientists in China have developed an edible, transparent, and biodegradable material that has high potential for use in food packaging. Plastic food packaging accounts for a significant portion of plastic waste in landfills worldwide. With growing environmental concerns among consumers, researchers and producers around the world are increasingly looking for planet-friendly alternatives. Now, scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) have developed an edible, transparent, and biodegradable material that they say offers significant potential for use in food packaging. Bacterial cellulose A team at CUHK has been working on bacterial cellulose (BC) – an organic compound derived from certain species of bacteria that has attracted attention as a sustainable, readily available, and non-toxic solution to the ubiquitous use of plastics. Professor To Ngai …