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More Sustainable Alternative to Egg White is Being Produced by Biotech

According to studies conducted by the Future Sustainable Food Systems research group at the University of Helsinki in collaboration with the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, fungus-produced ovalbumin has the potential to reduce the environmental impact of chicken egg white powder. This is especially true when low-carbon energy sources are used in the manufacturing process.

Due to the high-quality protein it contains, chicken egg white powder is a widely utilised component in the culinary sector. In 2020, the annual consumption of egg proteins was estimated to be over 1.6 million tonnes, with the market projected to grow in the coming years. The rising demand raises concerns about both sustainability and ethical behaviour. Parts of the egg white powder production chain, such as the breeding of birds for egg production, contribute to water scarcity, biodiversity loss, and deforestation.

Furthermore, industrial chicken raising has resulted in zoonotic disease epidemics by acting as a reservoir for human viruses. The food sector is increasingly interested in finding Sustainable alternatives to animal-based proteins. When utilised for recombinant ingredient synthesis, cellular agriculture, also known as precision fermentation, is a biotechnology-based method that uses a microbial production system to decouple the production of animal proteins from animal farming.

Because cell-cultured products require more electricity than traditional agricultural products, the type of energy source employed has an impact on the level of environmental impact. The amount of agricultural inputs required for bacteria to produce ovalbumin – such as glucose – is, on the other hand, often far smaller per kilogramme of protein powder. The results for the environmental impact of water use were less compelling, indicating a significant degree of reliance on the assumed location of the ovalbumin production facility.

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