How Volcanic Fungi From Yellowstone National Park Could Be the Answer to the Vegan Protein Problem

Tue Jan 12 2021

Plant-Based Options

When you talk to non-vegans about a vegan diet, one of the comments they often come back with is: “But how do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat?” While it’s certainly true that meat provides healthy protein for the body to digest and use, animal products aren’t the only answer when it comes to these essential human nutrients.

Fruit and vegetables are full of protein, beans and legumes have them aplenty, and you can even buy protein powder from the store. But now it seems as though there’s a new protein on the market. And it comes straight from Yellowstone National Park.

Over the years, the demand for plant-based protein options has increased. With that, research into new options and natural solutions have taken up a huge amount of scientists’ time. While some ideas haven’t quite made it into the market, others like soy and pea protein have proved to be extremely popular. And in 2019 a new company made its way out of the woodwork after securing $150 million in funding from the likes of Bill Gates, Al Gore, and other food giants to create new plant-based protein sources.

Nature’s Fynd came to light after a NASA-funded study discovered a volcanic fungus – which they call Fy – in Yellowstone National Park. After taking a small sample from the park, they have since been able to ferment this protein and create an unlimited supply to make all kinds of plant-based food options. So, that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Bringing Fungus to Life

Since bringing this fungus to life, Nature’s Fynd has already used their Fy protein to make foods such as chocolate mousse and “chicken” nuggets. And what makes their discovery so amazing is that they can continually grow this fungus in a lab, meaning it will never run out. Plus, it’s become an extremely environmentally-friendly option for those who are more conscious about their impact on the planet.

To make this fungus, the Chicago-based company uses 99% less land, releases 99% fewer greenhouse gases, and 87% less water than beef production. And as if that wasn’t enough, this Fy protein also contains 20 amino acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it an extremely healthy alternative for those who are looking to give up meat. After all, you don’t need animal protein to maintain your protein intake, and this fungus from Yellowstone National Park is the perfect example of that.