Exploring the nutritional and safety aspects of submerged cultures of Fusarium venenatum grown with seawater
Bi-Hua Yang, Tsung-Ju Li, Min-Yi Lin, Ting-Wei Lin, Chin-Chu Chen*
Biotech Research Institute, Grape King Bio Ltd., Taoyuan 325, Taiwan
With the increasing demand for sustainable protein sources, more consumers are turning to plant-based diets and alternative meat products. Mycoprotein has become a popular meat substitute for those following vegetarian, vegan, and flexitarian diets due to its high-quality protein and safety. One particular strain, Fusarium venenatum, is commonly used in alternative meat products. Alternative meat farming is growing in popularity worldwide, and the focus is on obtaining local resources to reduce environmental impact. Taiwan, with its abundant seawater resources, is an ideal location for cultivating F. venenatum in simple conditions using only key and organic nitrogen sources. After conducting a seawater addition test, we found that adding 50% seawater resulted in the highest mycelial weight. We then conducted a nutrient composition test after tank fermentation. Our study found that mycoprotein derived from F. venenatum is free of cholesterol, low in calories, high in quality protein (55% w/w), and rich in dietary fiber (25% w/w). The final product has a moist texture and is rich in Fe, Zn, and Ca ions. Using seawater as a growth medium provides a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional growth media, as seawater is readily available and does not require the same level of purification. In our comprehensive research using HPLC and Q-TOF, we found no detection of heavy metals, toxins, or plasticizer. We also conducted an animal study to demonstrate the safety of seawater-based F. venenatum as a meat replacement compared to the traditional medium-based culturing. Our results indicate that this technology is a sustainable and safe source of nutritious protein.