EUROPE -Researchers from Connectomix Bio are using ancient technology (fermentation) to turn agricultural waste into oils for food.
The scientific breakthrough is timely as it could reduce methane emissions, improve food security and produce essential ingredients more sustainably.
The one-year project which was funded by the Good Food Institute (GFI), an international NGO working to advance new ways of making meat was part of its 2022 Research Grants Programme.
As part of their objectives, the researchers aimed to experiment with different waste products such as corn husks, and different processes to produce gas through anaerobic digestion.
Through fermentation microbes acted on the gas from anaerobic digestion to produce lipids (free fatty acids) that could be used in various food applications.
The fatty acids could for instance act as a perfect ingredient for cultivated and plant-based meats processing where they could have a positive impact on taste, texture, and flavor.
The innovation comes at a time when there has been increasing awareness of the importance of fat in enabling meat alternatives to compete with the taste and texture of animal meat
According to the researchers, the innovation will tailor the lipids to particular applications primarily chicken, beef, or pork alternatives.
In addition to solving the dilemma in the alternative proteins sector, the project will positively impact the environmental concerns primarily on greenhouse gas emissions as was revealed by Milena Ivanisevic, Scientific Project Manager at Connectomix Bio.
“If you leave agricultural waste lying in the field it will create methane, which has a greater global warming potential than CO2. What we’re doing will capture this gas and turn it into an asset,” Milena said
“We believe our research will motivate new companies to enter this space, particularly biogas producers, an industry not historically engaged in sustainable food production,” she added
GFI Europe said the new project would be valuable because it would put information about sustainable fat alternatives into the public domain.
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