Safety evaluation of Neurospora crassa mycoprotein for use as a novel meat alternative and enhancer

Bradley M. Bartholomai, Katherine M. Ruwe, Jonathan Thurston, Prachi Jha, Kevin Scaife, Ryan Simon, Mohamed Abdelmoteleb, Richard E. Goodman, Moran Farhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cultivation of filamentous fungi to produce sustainable, nutrient rich meat replacements has recently attracted significant commercial and research interest. Here, we report evidence for the safety and nutritional value of Neurospora crassa mycoprotein, a whole mycelium food ingredient produced by fermentation and minimal downstream processing. N. crassa has a long history of human use in fermented foods and in molecular biology research. A survey of studies that used N. crassa in animal feed revealed no adverse effects to the health of the animals. Furthermore, a review of the literature found no reports of confirmed allergenicity or toxicity in humans involving N. crassa. Genomic toxigenicity analysis and in vitro testing did not identify any toxins in N. crassa mycoprotein. Two independent genomic allergenicity studies did not identify proteins that would be considered a particular risk for allergenic potential. Furthermore, nutritional analysis demonstrated that N. crassa mycoprotein is a good source of complete protein and is rich in fiber, potassium, and iron. Taken together, the presented data and the history of human use without evidence of human or animal harm indicate that foods containing N. crassa can generally be regarded as safe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113342
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Volume168
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Food safety
  • Meat alternative
  • Mycoprotein
  • Neurospora crassa
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology

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