Scientists use solid-state fungal fermentation to convert low-quality plant proteins into fungal proteins; SSFF boosted the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score of lysine by 30% in barley koji, barley tempeh, rice koji and 10% in rice tempeh

Sample article from our Consumer packaged goods (CPG)

July 3, 2023 (press release) –

•Solid-state fungal fermentation can produce a considerable amount of fungal biomass.

•Solid-state fungal fermentation can improve the protein quality of cereals.

•Fermentation improves protein quality by increased PDCAAS of essential amino acids.

To meet global protein demand sustainably in the future, we have to move to alternative, non-animal sources. A problem of many plant-derived foods is their low protein quality compared to animal-based proteins, in particular their deficiency in lysine. To improve the protein quality, plant proteins could be converted to fungal proteins using solid-state fungal fermentation (SSFF). In this project Rhizopus microsporus var. oligosporus and Aspergillus oryzae were used to ferment barley and rice, producing tempeh and koji, respectively. SSFF yielded products with 6–13% (dry weight basis) fungal biomass. Protein quality was defined by the parameters indispensable amino acid index (IAAI) and protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS). SSFF improved both parameters in all samples. Lysine was the limiting amino acid in unfermented barley and rice, with PDCAAS of 0.54 and 0.57, respectively. SSFF increased the PDCAAS of lysine by approximately 30% in barley koji, barley tempeh and rice koji and 10% in rice tempeh. These results demonstrate the use of SSFF to improve the protein quality of staple foods. Thereby, this fermentation method can aid in meeting protein demands sustainably in the future through plant-based diets.

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