Researchers from Utrecht and Copenhagen have received 7.5 million euros in support to create a new type of meat substitute. Because of the new concept of fungi and bacteria, plant materials must be “upgraded” so that they are just as tasty and nutritious as meat.
“This is great news. With this grant we can take a big step”, Professor says. Dr. Han Fusten, who leads the research group in Utrecht. We no longer want to feed animals plant proteins first and then have animals turn them into food for humans. Instead, we want to transform proteins directly by digesting them in a very complex way. If successful, it could be a huge step forward in sustainability and food security. “
A major role
Fungi and bacteria play a major role in the new method. Organisms are added to plant matter, after which they digest it in their own way. The result is a large amount of nutritious, high-quality protein with which to make meat substitutes.
According to the researchers, by choosing the right combination of fungi and bacteria, it should be possible to achieve optimal taste, structure, shelf life, and ease of digestion.
Funds were provided to researchers from Utrecht University and several Danish universities through the Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Programme. The project will last six years.