Numerous factors – particularly taste, aroma, and texture – have held back producers of plant-based meat analogs from truly replicating the sensorial experience of their animal-based counterparts. Impossible Foods is looking to better mimic the mouthfeel of eating real beef by incorporating a novel ingredient into its plant-based meat analogs called leghemoglobin, a heme protein that imparts a bleeding effect and savory flavor. Although heme proteins are highly abundant in animal sources, they are only found in low amounts in plant sources like soy. To circumvent extraction procedures, the company is taking a synthetic biology approach by adding the soy leghemoglobin gene to yeast in order to produce the molecule via fermentation.
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