This week, researchers from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland announced that they have developed an egg white product made from fungi. The egg was developed using precision fermentation, a process that allows for the programming of micro-organisms (like fungi or bacteria) to produce complex organic molecules (like protein or fat).
The food-tech scientists used a fungus called Trichoderma reesei to produce ovalbumin, the protein found in egg whites. The end product was a powder that has the potential to be used in large-scale commercial production of different food and nutrition products.
A fungi-based egg white is obviously a great option for vegans, but this also provides a solution for the environmental and health concerns associated with conventional chicken eggs. Chicken farming requires large amounts of land, and the researchers claimed that their alternative egg product uses 90 percent less land than a conventional egg. Factory farms chickens are often given large amounts of antibiotics, while salmonella is still a risk associated with eating eggs; these are not issues associated with alternative eggs.
Although the fungi-based egg powder is not yet on the market, it offers massive potential for food producers that strive to make their offerings egg-free.