Fermentation is a powerful, flexible process for using microorganisms to produce alternative proteins. Fermentation has been used in food production for millennia. Ancient civilizations used microbial cultures to preserve foods, create alcoholic beverages, and improve the nutritional value and bioavailability of foods ranging from yogurt to tempeh. Over the past century, the role of fermentation has expanded far beyond its historical usage to a much broader range of applications. There are many uses of fermentation in the broader alt protein field.
How Are Fermented Alternative Proteins Made?
Fermentation for alternative proteins can be broken down into three categories: traditional fermentation, biomass fermentation, and precision fermentation. Traditional fermentation is the process of changing a food through microbial anaerobic digestion. Biomass fermentation uses the high-protein content and rapid growth of microorganisms to efficiently make large amounts of protein-rich food. Precision fermentation uses microorganisms to produce specific functional ingredients.