Sunday, June 20, 2010

What is Quorn?

A new advertiser has arrived on my blog, how can I not talk about it? I am going to introduce you to Quorn from a life scientist's perspective.

The product is made from an edible mould with a scientific name Fusarium venenatum strain PTA-2684. The mould was discovered in 1967 and chosen as the best candidate for protein production after an extensive screening process. This research for alternative protein sources was back in the 1960s.

quorn meat texture
It's just like any other meat

How is Quorn produced?

The mould is grown in an oxygenated and sterile fermenter. Glucose is added as a food (carbon) source and ammonia as nitrogen source for the fungus along with vitamins and minerals. When a desired level of growth is reached, the mould is extracted. The extracted mould is called mycoprotein. It is heat treated to remove excess RNA. Without heat treatment the genetic material is metabolised in humans into uric acid and can lead to gout.

The mycoprotein is dried and added with egg albumen (as binder). It is textured and pressed into desired shapes. At this stage, the mycoprotein has a varying colour and flavour resembling meat.

quorn nuggets
Nuggets I love 'em!

What are the benefits?

Quorn is high in dietery fibres and proteins and low in lipids (fats & cholesterols) and salt. It contains all of the essential amino acids making it a suitable alternative protein source for vegetarians. The product is of course meat free and soy free too.

Which amino acids are essential? Human beings have eight essential amino acids. They are named essential because the human body doesn't synthesise them. I name all of them here:
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

Challenge: Draw out the molecular structure of these amino acids!

A Burritos made with Quorn.

You can obtain your nutritional needs without sacrificing a life. Isn't that cool? Quorn products are now availablie in Australia so head over to the supermarkets and grab one now!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like chicken! Interesting and informative! =)