Avoiding animal products has been on the rise for several years. Due to the trend, people look for substitutes for meat, cheese, and other animal-origin foods. Finnish scientists have created an alternative to egg white powder from mushrooms. Instead of traditional hen protein, its production and use can help reduce greenhouse gases.

Egg White Powder Made from Fungus

The food industry makes extensive use of egg white powder. Dried eggs are added to instant soups, pasta, pastries, and mayonnaise. In 2020, 1.6 million tons of egg protein were consumed, according to the FoodNavigator Journal. The consumption is expected to grow.

Chicken egg. Photo by Jasmin Egger on Unsplash

Finnish researchers from the University of Helsinki and the VTT Technical Research Center have found that the fibrous fungus Trichoderma reesei produces an essential protein from egg white. Using a chicken gene, the team genetically modified the fungus to obtain a substance called ovalbumin, which makes up more than half of the protein in egg white powder.

Eco-Friendly Alternative to Tradition Egg White

In the first step, the researchers isolated a chicken gene, which they implemented in a fungus. Next, they created the ovalbumin. The secretion protein was allowed to dry and a powder formed. Tests have shown that egg white substitutes have the same properties as traditional dried egg whites. So it can be used in the kitchen in many ways, including cooking, baking, and even making snow from egg whites.

Egg white powder made of fungus. Credit: VTT Technical Research Center of Finland

According to scientists, the production of egg white substitutes could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 31 to 55% and land use by up to 90%, compared to breeding hens to obtain egg whites.

For several decades, the mycoparasitic tree fungus Trichoderma reesei has been used in industry. It biodegrades fallen wood, producing cellulolytic enzymes that are used in the production of paper, textiles, and biofuels. The U.S. military accidentally discovered the fungal’s degradation potential during World War II, where the fungus damaged cotton tents.

Source: https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2022/01/11/The-positive-environmental-impacts-are-huge-Researchers-compare-chicken-egg-white-to-precision-fermentation-alternative, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland