A shiitake mushroom mycelium fermented protein blend offers improved digestibility, solubility, and flavor, says recent study

A recent animal study found that fermentation with shiitake mushroom mycelium may result in improvements in digestibility, nutritional value, physical properties, and organoleptic characteristics of pea and rice protein.

A recent animal study1 found that fermentation with shiitake mushroom mycelium may result in improvements in digestibility, nutritional value, physical properties, and organoleptic characteristics of a pea and rice protein concentrate blend.

In the study, pigs were given either an unfermented or fermented protein blend (MycoTechnology’s FermentIQ PTP protein powder). Results showed that the fermented blend resulted in significantly higher ileal digestibility of individual amino acids (DIAAS). Using the FAO-recommended scoring patterns for “young children” and for “older children, adolescents, and adults,” researchers found that DIAAS increased by 23% and 24%, respectively. DIAAS accurately reflects the true nutritional value of dietary protein.

Additionally, fermentation significantly improved solubility of the protein and improved flavor by decreasing earthy, beany, potato, and mustard off-notes. “Specifically, off-notes compounds methional, methyl mercaptan, bergamotene-like compound, which are present in the unfermented protein blend, were substantially reduced in the fermented protein blend by 40%, 78%, [and] 99%, respectively,” the researchers stated.

These benefits may be the result of a number of different factors. “Fungi are known to secrete a wide variety of enzymes, including proteases. Shiitake secreted proteases might ‘pre-digest’ the protein substrate before they reach the pig digestive system, while the increased solubility of the fermented protein, especially at low pH, may partially account for the observed increased digestibility,” wrote the researchers. “Additionally, the level of the gastric enzymes’ inhibitor, phytate, was substantially reduced by the fungal fermentation process. It is very foreseeable that this lower phytate level also contributed to the observed increase in the pigs’ digestibility of the fermented protein blend.”

Reference

  1. Clark AJ et al. “Shiitake mycelium fermentation improves digestibility, nutritional value,flavor and functionality of plant proteins.” Food Science and Technology, vol. 156 (2022): 113065, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lwt.2021.113065