Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Scientists have grown artificial meat from mold

California scientists slightly modified the genes of koji mold and grew from them an “alternative” to real meat. They claim that “mold” meat is much more environmentally friendly than conventional meat.

The so-called koji mold or koji fungus (Aspergillus oryzae) is a substrate that the Japanese cultivate on grains or beans in a moist and warm environment. This white mold is very rich in enzymes beneficial to the human body.

Japanese people add koji to almost all possible products: from sake and soy sauce to ice cream and salads. When interacting with proteins and fats in these products, koji produces enzymes, creating new aromas and flavors.

In Japan and other Asian countries, koji mold has been intentionally cultivated for about a thousand years, but the rest of the world has only begun to discover it in the last decade. And now scientists from the University of California, Berkeley have figured out how to use koji to create artificial meat accessible to the population.

Using genetic engineering, they turned white koji mold into something pinkish resembling finely ground meat mince, from which they formed a “burger patty.”

According to the scientists, this is just the beginning, and with the right desire and diligence, it can be turned into a whole line of meat products that will “appeal even to the most discerning gourmets.” The head of the bioengineering project, Vayu Maini Rekdal, a former chef, is particularly interested in the potential of koji for this reason.

To start, Rekdal and his team used the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system to increase the level of heme in koji – an iron molecule found in animal tissues that gives meat its color and flavor.

Then the team increased the amount of an antioxidant called ergothioneine in koji, which benefits the cardiovascular system and is used in medicines to treat liver damage, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.

After this, the mold, which used to be white, turned red, and then they removed excess water from it and finely ground all the substance. Only frying remains…

However, for the mold to resemble meat rather than strange fried puree with a slight meaty aroma, more work is needed to change other koji genes. In particular, they need to obtain a structure similar to meat fibers, which would also have a meaty taste.

But even then, it won’t be easy to please the “high standards” of consumers, and Rekdal admits that it may also be necessary to add fat to the product for nutrition.

Rekdal and his team actively promote mold meat as a potentially viable alternative to beef patties in the future. Especially emphasizing that such meat would supposedly be more environmentally friendly than livestock farming.

However, other scientists disagree, believing that when mold meat begins to be produced on an industrial scale, the carbon footprint of such production will be much larger than that of beef cultivation.


Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2024 ExtraTerrestrial