How microorganism can be cultured on a large scale
Mycoprotein is made in 40 metre high fermenters which run continuously for five weeks at a time. The fermenter is sterilised and filled with a water and glucose solution. Then a batch of fusarium venenatum, the fungi at the heart of Mycoprotein, is introduced. Once the organism has started to grow a continuous feed of nutrients, including potassium, magnesium and phosphate as well as trace elements, are added to the solution. The pH balance, temperature, nutrient concentration and oxygen are all constantly adjusted in order to achieve the optimum growth rate. The organism and nutrients combine to form Mycoprotein solids and these are removed continuously from the fermenter after an average residence time of five to six hours. Once removed the Mycoprotein is heated to 65°C to breakdown the nucleic acid. Water is then removed in centrifuges, leaving the Mycoprotein looking rather like pastry dough.