Fungus Found in Yellowstone Hot Spring Is Key Ingredient in New Meat Substitute

Chicago-based startup Nature's Fynd is using the fungus to develop products from chicken nuggets to yogurt.

Fungus Found in Yellowstone Hot Spring Is Key Ingredient in New Meat Substitute
Nature's Fynd video

In 2009, a team of researchers discovered a previously unknown microbe in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park. Now, the fungus is the star ingredient in a new line of food products.

"It was very, very high in protein. And it's actually a very exciting protein because it's a complete protein," says Thomas Jonas, CEO of Nature's Fynd. "There are really not that many sources of complete protein out there."

Jonas's Chicago-based startup developed a process to ferment the fungus and create what's now called Fy protein. They're using it to make a variety of foods.

"So we've been able to make things that range from chicken nuggets, hamburgers, breakfast sausages to yogurts and cheese," Jonas says.

Earlier this year, the company offered a limited line of cream cheese and breakfast sausage on its website. Jonas says the products will soon be sold at stores.

He foresees growing demand for protein-filled foods produced more sustainably than meat and dairy.

"That whole supply chain is completely inefficient and using a tremendous amount of resources of land, of water, energy," he says.

So Jonas says Fy could provide a more climate-friendly alternative.

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak / ChavoBart Digital Media

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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