Currently around one billion people in the world do not have access to a diet which provides enough protein and energy. However, the production of one of the main sources of protein, animal meat, causes severe impacts on the environment. The present study investigates the production of a vegan-mycoprotein concentrate from pea-industry byproduct (PpB), using edible filamentous fungi, with potential application in human nutrition. Edible fungal strains of Ascomycota (Aspergillus oryzae, Fusarium venenatum, Monascus purpureus, Neurospora intermedia) and Zygomycota (Rhizopus oryzae) phyla were screened and selected for their protein production yield.
A. oryzae had the best performance among the tested fungi, with a protein yield of 0.26 g per g of pea-processing byproduct from the bench scale airlift bioreactor cultivation. It is estimated that by integrating the novel fungal process at an existing pea-processing industry, about 680 kg of fungal biomass attributing to about 38% of extra protein could be produced for each 1 metric ton of pea-processing byproduct. This study is the first of its kind to demonstrate the potential of the pea-processing byproduct to be used by filamentous fungi to produce vegan-mycoprotein for human food applications.
The pea-processing byproduct (PpB) was proved to be an efficient medium for the growth of filamentous fungi to produce a vegan-protein concentrate. Moreover, an industrial scenario for the production of vegan-mycoprotein concentrate for human nutrition is proposed as an integrated process to the existing PPI production facilities.