Elsevier, LWT, Volume 156, 15 February 2022
Plant proteins can serve as inexpensive and environmentally friendly meat-replacements. However, poor taste characteristics and relatively low nutritional value prevent their full acceptance as meat substitutes. Fermentation of food has been historically used to improve the quality of foods. In this work we describe the improvement in digestibility, nutritional value, physical properties, and organoleptic characteristics, of a pea and rice protein concentrate blend through fermentation with shiitake mushroom mycelium. Ileal digestibility pig studies show increases in the DIAAS for the shiitake fermented pea and rice protein blend turning the blend into an “excellent source” of protein for humans. The fermentation also increases the solubility of the protein blend and reduces the content of the antinutrient compounds phytates and protease inhibitor. Mass spectrometry and sensory analyses of fermented protein blend indicates that fermentation leads to a reduction in off-note compounds substantially improving its organoleptic performance.