Quorn partners with academia to boost quality, sustainability of mycoprotein

Dr Nanda Ayu Puspita in the laboratories in the National Horizons Centre

Quorn Foods has partnered with Teesside University to boost the quality and sustainability of mycoprotein, the main ingredient across its product portfolio.

Over two years, Dr Nanda Ayu Puspita will project manage a government funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) from Quorn’s new pilot plant in Billingham, County Durham.

The project team will have direct access to Teesside University’s £22.3 million National Horizons Centre, a UK centre of excellence for the biosciences based in Darlington.

They will utilise specialist equipment for examining and testing different proteins to ensure they meet pre-approved food regulations.

Quorn is a meat substitute produced at a site in Billingham by fermenting a nutritious microorganism in the fungus family called Fusarium venenatum. This is, in turn, developed into more than 100 different Quorn products such as pieces, sausages and mince, which are sold primarily in Europe and the USA, and available in 18 countries.

The KTP will use new methods of proteomics, mass spectrometry and chromatography to identify and quantify proteins during the fermentation process as well using biochemical data to identify targets for new strains with desirable characteristics.

Dr Gillian Taylor, Principal Lecturer and Operational Manager of the National Horizons Centre, will lead the academic team providing supervision for the KTP.

“Quorn is a fantastic example of a Tees Valley company which is at the forefront of the bioscience sector, using innovative techniques to develop nutritious and sustainable foodstuffs which are sold across the world,” she said.

“We are very pleased to be working with Quorn using our facilities and expertise to help them expand further and develop new food technologies.”