Project

Microbial meat

This project is using sustainable fermentation technology to produce all of the essential components of meat (protein, fat, vitamins, nutrients, flavour) and to then merge them into an animal-free alternative to meat. In terms of flavour, protein content and nutritional value, the product will be superior to current plant-based meat substitutes.

This project will demonstrate the technical feasibility of a meat substitute based on microbial fermentation. The final product will be as good as, if not better, than existing meat substitutes such as in-vitro cultured meat, processed plant biomass (shear cell technology), and insect protein, in terms of sensory (texture and flavour) and nutritional qualities (protein/amino acid levels, vitamins) and in terms of sustainability (carbon emissions, land/water use) and consumer acceptance.

Methods

The project will use existing fermentation technologies for the microbial production of fat and/or oil based on yeasts and/or microalgae, vitamins based on lactic acid bacteria and propionic acid bacteria, and a savoury flavour and haem based on various micro-organisms. New fermentation processes will also be developed for the production of animal-free meat proteins such as actin and myosin, using efficient protein-producing yeasts or fungi such as Pichia pastoris.

Meat substitute

The various microbially produced meat components such as meat protein, vitamins, fat, haem and flavour will be merged into a tasty meat substitute using WUR's advanced formulation and processing expertise. Finally, with help from WUR’s Social Sciences Group, research will be carried out to assess consumer acceptance of this kind of product in the Netherlands, and to identify any aspects that need further attention in order to develop an optimal meat substitute.

Publications