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A ‘Quorn’ That’s Not on the Cob

Shira Cohen is studying Nutrition at the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at McGill University, specializing in Global Nutrition. 

Meat alternatives are hot. You have probably heard of the Beyond Meat burger or the Impossible burger but have you heard of “Quorn?” Could be coming your way soon!

Quorn is a plant-based meat alternative that was developed in the UK and launched in 1985 by the Marlow Food Company. This was in response to a prediction in the 1960s by British Industrialist Arthur Rankthat by the 1980s there would be a shortage of protein rich foods. Rank suggested that the Rank Hovis McDougall) research center (RHM) look into novel methods to produce protein-rich foods, for example from fungi. Not animals, plants or bacteria, fungi are organisms that cannot photosynthesize but live by decomposing and absorbing the organic matter in which they grow. Mushrooms, molds and yeasts are typical examples. The idea was to produce highly nutritious, delicious and safe foods from fungi.

Mycology is the branch of biology that studies fungi and proteins found in fungi are therefore referred to as mycoproteins. Quorn is a mycoprotein derived from the filamentous fungus, Fusarium Venenatum, discovered in a soil sample in 1967. In 1985, RHM received official permission to sell mycoprotein to consumers.

For those who want to delve deeper into “how mycoprotein is made“, click here

Fusarium Graminearum is grown in a fermenter. After pH is regulated, the mycoprotein and excess liquid are heated by pasteurization to stop further growth. When the mycoprotein is separated from the liquid, it looks like a cream-coloured raw dough. It is then transformed into Quorn by mixing it with vegetable flavourings and egg albumen. The mixture is processed further and the production method used depends on what the Quorn will be made into and the final product is then packed chilled and frozen.

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