22 MARCH 2023

The Gothenburg-based company is advancing into the final stage of the Deep Space Food Challenge with the innovative circular system AFCiS, developed within the company's research platform TechMyc. Using fungi and algae in a closed-circuit concept, Mycorena strives for resource efficiency equally suited for space and earth.

The Deep Space Food Challenge is a competition coordinated by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency to advance technologies for resource-efficient food production suitable for long-term space missions. The objective of the competition is to accelerate food innovation and create food production systems that require minimal input and resources while producing nutritious, safe and palatable food. 

Mycorena has created a unique circular system to produce mycoprotein using algae. The system, called AFCiS, is an Algae-Fungi Circular Solution comprising several modules, such as different bioreactors and food production modules. The fungi grow in the innovative system using limited resources, and the harvested biomass is then 3D printed into the desired application. 


Mycorena aims to develop sustainable food production systems and processes to drive change in the food system and feed the growing population. This challenge enables the company to take its innovation to the next frontier. Head of R&D Kristina Karlsson and TechMyc Manager Carlos Nunez-Otero lead the project. 

During several phases of the challenge, the team demonstrated the potential of the technology by submitting designs, testing plans, and a video demonstration of the novel food production technology concept. The projects that best fulfilled the performance criteria moved forward in the competition. Out of more than 300 teams from 32 countries, 11 finalists remain. Mycorena is one of only two European teams. 

'The harsh conditions of life in space put high demands on food products regarding nutritional requirements and the ability to create a feeling of familiarity and comfort when consumed. Being recognised by NASA as one of the finalists in DSFC is an incredible validation of our technology's resource efficiency and mycoprotein's outstanding potential as an ingredient for food products,' says Dr Kristina Karlsson, Head of R&D at Mycorena. 

'Producing food in space is incredibly challenging, and it's exciting to see that many companies worldwide are working towards developing innovative food production modules to implement in space travel. At Mycorena, we wanted to showcase the potential of fungi and algae in a circular system, and now our solution AFCiS has been validated by reaching the finals in DSFC. We are very proud of this accomplishment and the future opportunities that resource-efficient systems bring to the planet, 'says Dr Carlos Nunez-Otero, Scientist and TechMyc Project Manager at Mycorena.

In the final step of the competition in mid-March, Mycorena welcomed a jury of representatives from NASA to the headquarters at MIND in Gothenburg. The jury members reviewed the system in a short presentation and on-site demonstration.
The winners of the Deep Space Food Challenge will be announced in April.

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