Biotechnology as a more sustainable alternative to egg white protein

Ovalbumin produced by fungi can potentially alleviate some of the environmental burden associated with chicken egg white powder. This is especially true when low-carbon energy sources are used in production, according to research conducted by the Future Sustainable Food Systems research group at the University of Helsinki together with the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland.

“For example, more than half of the content protein egg white powder is ovalbumin. VTT was able to produce ovalbumin with the help of the filamentous ascomycete fungus Trichoderma reesei,” explained Emilia Nordlund from Center for technical research VTT from Finland.

The gene carrying the ovalbumin blueprint was inserted by biotechnological tools modern technology in a fungus that then produces and secretes the same protein produced by chickens. The protein ovalbumin is separated from the cells, concentrated and dried to obtain the final functional product.

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Chicken out of the egg white equation

Chicken egg white powder It is a frequently used ingredient in the food industry due to the high-quality proteins it contains. The annual consumption of egg protein in 2020 was about 1.6 million metric tons and the market is expected to expand further in the coming years.

Increasing demand raises questions about sustainability and ethics. Parts of the egg white powder production chain, such as raising chickens for egg production, generate large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to water scarcity, biodiversity loss and deforestation.

In addition, intensive chicken farming has led to outbreaks zoonoses serving as an important reservoir for human pathogens. That’s why global industry leaders were quick to capitalize on the growing demand for egg substitutes. Israel-based ChickP recently introduced its chickpea isolate as a nutritious alternative to eggs in mayonnaise.

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