South Australian ocean organism could be key to animal-free meat, research shows

A fungus-like organism found in the water around South Australia could be the pivotal ingredient in making animal-free meat.

Flinders University researchers have found thraustochytrids, a group of marine microbes, could make everything from nutritional supplements, medicines, cosmetics, biofuels and animal-free meat.

Associate Professor Munish Puri, a medical biotechnology researcher at Flinders University’s College of Medicine and Public Health, said many people are now turning to alternative meat products.

The organism can be fermented to be used in a range of products. (Flinders University)

But the current source for sustainable products are not sustainable, Puri added.

“There is a need to search for alternative sources of protein and lipids required in their production,” he said.

Puri said the microbes could be precisely fermented to create a “single cell oil” to be used in nutritional supplements.

The biggest benefit is it doesn’t require land to be produced, an issue currently raised around the sustainability of farming for meat.

Associate Professor Munish Puri, a medical biotechnology researcher in Flinders University's College of Medicine and Public Health, reveals ocean organism could make animal-free meat.
Associate Professor Munish Puri, a medical biotechnology researcher in Flinders University’s College of Medicine and Public Health, reveals ocean organism could make animal-free meat. (Flinders University)

“We also know that thraustochytrids can produce a wide range of high-value bioproducts, such as omega-3 fatty acids, squalene (used in cosmetics and vaccines), exopolysaccharides (used in pharmaceuticals), enzymes, aquaculture feed, pigments and lipids suitable for biodiesel composition,” Puri said.

“To produce plant-based meats, it requires proteins, nutrients and fats.

Associate Professor Munish Puri, a medical biotechnology researcher in Flinders University's College of Medicine and Public Health, reveals ocean organism could make animal-free meat.
The discovery is important for animal-free meat production. (Flinders University)

“Thraustochytrids are an oleaginous (oily) microorganism that produce high lipid (fat) content and it is expected that these fats will mimic the structure of animal fats, enhancing the sensory properties of plant-based meats and confer a delicious taste.”

Take a good look, because researchers have only encountered this extremely rare deep sea fish four times. Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) came across this mysterious species, a highfin dragonfish, on a recent exhibition off Californian.

Extremely rare submarine-like deep sea fish spotted

Puri said this discovery could fast track the introduction of animal-free meat.

Reference-www.9news.com.au

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