Danish researchers working to create fungi-based seafood alternatives

A colony of mycelium.

Researchers in Copenhagen, Denmark, have collaborated with chefs at restaurant, Alchemist – a restaurant in Copenhagen with two Michelin stars – to create sustainable plant-based seafood alternatives from a fungi base.

The research team, The Guardian reported, is using mycelium, a root-like fungal structure with a resemblance to yeast, to test fermentation and growth for seafood-texture replication. They will test various fermentation and growth patterns to ensure a taste and model like seafood.

The mycellium fungus, according to the team, is an apt medium for creating a healthy product – it is high in protein, sustainable, and full of nutrients. However, growing conditions for mycelium lack a fish-like flavor – which is one of the primary focal points for the research – and the partnership between scientists and restauranteurs. 

“We scientists are not good at understanding how to make things delicious, and this decides whether people will eat them," Leonie Jahn, the leading microbiologist with the research team, told The Guardian. "There’s a lot we can learn from each other. [Work with chefs] is slowly emerging, but it hasn’t happened so far to the extent that would be needed to end up with products that are really good.”

The core goal, the team said, is to make a product that stands on its own and is sought out for its flavor. 

“The ultimate goal is to create a product that is so delicious in its own right that it is chosen over other foods on the sole criterion of tastiness," Alchemist Co-Owner and Head Chef Rasmus Munk said. 

Photo courtesy of Dmytro Tyshchenko/ Shutterstock


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