Mycoprotein, a meat analogue, and health-promoting properties: Fusarium species and beyond

Jeong Hoon Pan c, Dahye Kim d, Wan Heo e, Eui Cheol Shin f, Young Jun Kim a, Youn Young Shim a, Martin J.T. Reaney g, Seong-Gyu Ko h, Seung-Beom Hong b, Hyung Taek Cho a, Tae Gyun Kim a, Kangwook Lee a,*, and Jae Kyeom Kim a, i*

a Department of Food and Biotechnology, Korea University, Sejong 30019, Republic of Korea

b Agricultural Microbiology Division, National Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Rural Development Administration, Wanju 55365, Republic of Korea

c Department of Food and Nutrition, Chosun University, Gwangju, 61452, Republic of Korea

d Animal Genomics and Bioinformatics Division, National Institute of Animal Science, Rural Development Administration, Wanju 55365, Republic of Korea

e Department of Food Science and Engineering, Seowon University, Cheongju 28647, Republic of Korea

f Department of Food Science, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju 52828, Republic of Korea

g Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8, Canada

h Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 02453, Republic of Korea

i Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA


Filamentous fungal mycoproteins have gained increasing attention as sustainable alternatives to animal and plant-based proteins. This comprehensive review summarizes the nutritional characteristics, toxicological aspects, and health-promoting effects of mycoproteins, focusing on those derived from filamentous fungi, notably Fusarium venenatum. Mycoproteins are characterized by their high protein content, and they have a superior essential amino acid profile compared to soybeans indicating excellent protein quality and benefits for human nutrition. Additionally, mycoproteins offer enhanced digestibility, further highlighting their suitability as a protein source. Furthermore, mycoproteins are rich in dietary fibers, which have been associated with health benefits, including protection against metabolic diseases. Moreover, their fatty acids profile, with significant proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids and absence of cholesterol, distinguishes them from animal-derived proteins. In conclusion, the future of mycoproteins as a health-promoting protein alternative and the development of functional foods relies on several key aspects. These include improving the acceptance of mycoproteins, conducting further research into their mechanisms of action, addressing consumer preferences and perceptions, and ensuring safety and regulatory compliance. To fully unlock the potential of mycoproteins and meet the evolving needs of a health-conscious society, continuous interdisciplinary research, collaboration among stakeholders, and proactive engagement with consumers will be vital.