Mycelium partnership to expand animal-free meat production

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/	alanphillips
Source: Getty/ alanphillips

Related tags mycelium Sustainability Automation

Ecovative Design will expand its AirMycelium technology to “introduce new, high-value mycelium crops to the mushroom farming industry and accelerating the growth of the mycelium materials sector,” including animal-free meats, with help from mushroom production machinery expert Limbraco International BV, according to a joint statement from both companies.

The parent company to MyForestFoods, which produces its mycelium bacon called MyBacon​, Ecovative Design uses its patented AirMycelium technology in its vertical farms to grow mycelium products at industrial scale. According to the statement, Ecovative’s technology can integrate with existing mushroom growing facilities to produce “a quick addition of high value, fast growing product lines.”

Of the exclusive technological partnership, Limbraco’s CEO, Frank Cornelissen, expressed the potential to enter new markets “aimed at empowering mushroom farmers with the tools they need for success in an emerging and competitive industry.”

Ecovative's patented growth technique coupled with Limbraco's specially tailored, multi-purpose machinery for AirMycelium, which harvests the mycelium while simultaneously preparing it for existing meat-processing infrastructure, underwent initial trials at Whitecrest Mushrooms, a commercial mushroom farm in Ontario, Canada. This collaboration was validated through a successful proof-of-concept, with the farm planning to dedicate half of its mushroom production capacity to the innovative AirMycelium technology by 2024.

“Limbraco’s sophisticated and reliable equipment is essential for meeting the unique requirements of Ecovative’s mycelium crop, AirMycelium. This strategic alliance is a significant step towards scaling up the production of new high-value mycelium crops for mushroom farmers, which hold immense potential for food and fashion,” Gavin McIntyre, chief commercial officer, Ecovative, said in a statement.

Scaling up the animal-free industry

By leveraging technology and forming strategic partnerships in agriculture, companies have an opportunity to stand out in an increasingly competitive environment through streamlined efficiencies, quality control and innovation.

A recent example is leafy greens vertical farm Plenty​, which announced its partnership with Driscoll’s to expand into strawberry cultivation. The company’s expansion beyond Oakland, Calif., to Richmond, Va., marks a strategic move for Plenty, leveraging Driscoll’s genetic know-how to diversify its offerings.

Oishii’s​ partnership with Japanese robotics company, Yaskawa Corporation, which was  announced earlier this year accelerates the vertical farms’ strawberry cultivation to produce consistent varietals year-round. The partnership combines Oishii’s internal environmental regulation software with Yaskawa’s automation to select strawberries at peak ripeness, while allowing buds to grow.


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