09 JANUARY 2023

How are fungi different from plants, really?

Biologically, fungi and plants belong to entirely different kingdoms. Knowing this, it might not be surprising that many exceptional qualities set them apart. The fungi kingdom is equally different to plants as plants are to animals.

One compound often found in plants is something called phytates. Phytates are antinutrients. This means that they may decrease the absorption in the body of certain nutrients such as zinc and iron. What happens is that the phytates bind themselves to certain nutrients and form insoluble compounds in the gastrointestinal tract, where the nutritional uptake happens. This results in the antinutrient blocking the absorption of, for instance, iron.

The amount of antinutrients may be concentrated further when the protein is extracted from the plants and turned into food products.

Unlike plants, fungi contain no phytates. Therefore, consuming mycoprotein-based products does not negatively affect the nutritional uptake from the food.

This enables a huge potential to create nutritious food products rich in protein and fibre based on mycoprotein. In addition, depending on what the fungi are fed, the content of certain vitamins and minerals, such as iron, can be naturally increased, eliminating the need for subsequent fortification.

This is just one of the many ways that fungi differ from plants.

Recently, there has been increasing debate on the nutritional value of plant-based and alternative proteins, specifically on digestibility. While there is some research on this area, there are still things we need to learn. 

Our mycoprotein Promyc is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids. It also has high fibre, zinc, and other vital vitamins and minerals, while containing low fat, sugar, and salt. Nutritionally speaking, mycoprotein is incredibly beneficial compared to other protein sources. Its versatile qualities enable endless possibilities in applications, either as pure vegan fungi-based products or as hybrid products with either plant-based protein or meat. 

At Mycorena, we have long recognised the need for more research on nutrition and uptake within the alternative protein segment. Therefore, we want to take the lead, push the research forward, and set industry standards for nutritional value to enable more people to make informed decisions for their health. 

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