You're listening to the mushroom revival podcast. If this is your first time listening, welcome. We are totally obsessed with the power of mushrooms and fungi. We bring on experts from all around the world to geek out with us on how cool fungi and mushrooms are. And today, we're gonna geek out with Jasmine all about fungal ferments, and making mushrooms and superfoods. So Jasmine, how you doing?
I'm doing good. How are you?
Good. Good one, why don't you give your bio who who you are where are you up to? Yeah, sure.
So I actually have a background in nutrition and my bachelor's degree. But I did my PhD on a plant sciences, just focusing on metabolic engineering in plants, and how to try to find very unique metabolites coming from plants. And in the last few years, I've been working on fungi based fermentation together with my two other co founders of the company, they had Darren Dahlia actually began to become obsessed with the fungi when they met, we actually did a PhD and postdoctoral studies on a mycelium based fermentation and just to walk in with different kind of permutation effects to walk, try to improve biofuels and then later on food applications. And so I've been doing kind of fungi based fermentation in the last few years.
That's so cool. Was it something that Daria said to you or showed you that you know, change your mind and kind of turns you on about the the amazing aspects of of how fungi can be used for for food and making super foods?
Yeah, actually, you know, Dahlia came she showed me how filamentous fungi can go in a way that is just like, our muscle tissue in human body when animal body so we can really give this amazing texture without the need for any processing, you know, chemically or physically. And she showed me how because mushrooms are, you know, closer to animals than to plant them the whole day, like nutritional facts, or when you're one mushroom is amazing. And they have such a unique nutritional factors that are so healthy for humans. And also like how the taste is this way to the flavor that we're always trying to look for when we're talking about a animal based food. So it just was mind blowing to see how so many inserts equation and we are looking for, in this process, the way we can find in a natural way with mushrooms, you know, everyone I'm trying to replace for us coming from this Faculty of Science and Environment. The question that was really occupied me at the time was how can we best address the environmental crisis that we are having the climate issue and it was clear to me that one of the main solution to solve that is to reduce human consumption of animal food. And while all the companies will really trying these really complex methods and trying to get like less bone meat and adding more and more flavoring agents to replicate the taste of meat, she came to me with a smartphone. And it tells this great which media tastes content great texture, instead of me like bone always in a natural way contains the most interesting value. So yeah, it was amazing.
And so you obviously have a company called Conoco tech and how can you give a kind of a one on one on on this company? What you guys do the origin of the name? Yeah.
Yeah, so kinako is just mushrooming ponies and what we do is we are going filamentous fungi on top of plant able plant ingredients like lagoons and veins. And what most resembles what we do is just simply template if someone in the audience is familiar, but we are getting like much better taste and texture than traditional, but it's the same concept we are going filamentous fungi on top of logos and when and we use the fungi as the crossing to create the way to texture, the goop a taste and INNOPOLIS really delicious. Certain foods also have amazing value. So just to bring in this me, therapy unprocessed option for anyone who wants to eat plant based?
And how is it different from campaign? Is it the type of fungi that you're using? Is it the type of grains or a mixture of both? Yeah, yeah.
So so so we've been, we're both using a different strain of fungi going on soil because not give it so free. And we are also going the above solid state fermentation, but to now wind differently, then temporary wine in bags, but in trays. And also, like our fungi is acting differently than the one used for them, which is reasonable. So we need to give it a different condition. And it just does not Spoleto. We cannot use pause. There are like many different technical aspects with working with our guest.
Yeah, and I was reading an article that you were talking about how conventional lentils are around 73% carbohydrates and about 24% protein. And now with this fungal transfermate formation, it it's about 58% carbs and 35% protein. How is this possible what what is going on, to make that transition from carbohydrates to protein.
So you know, the amazing thing with what the fermentation is doing is that the fungi focus on growth and development is just digesting or eating away. A part of the lentils and what they like most to eat is just simple carbohydrates. So they're taking apart starch. And just burning the simple carbohydrates as fuel as energy is heat for their own growth. So we have ended up with this a significant reduction in carbohydrate with the end product. And because we've taken down carbohydrate, then there is a increase just in the percentage of protein because of the you know, biomass level in the hallway, the product that we are going with once we are reducing carbohydrate, and there is increasing the protein. And another thing we're proposing is also in a meeting, a lot of very unique data refer to very beneficial to human health. But it also change the protein quality. Because when we start with lentils, we start with this 14 is not complete, it doesn't have all nine essential amino acids that are needed for our body to build muscle in what the fungi is doing. It's just again, in a way to put in. And then on one hand, it released this safe three amino acid to give this rich, rich taste in our mouth, free glutamate, which is an amino acid that we've already familiar with this chemical trying to replace this AMI flavor called monosodium glutamate. So the free glutamate from just the second part, the 14th is a natural way to create this which flavor without the need for any chemical things outside. But it also change one amino acid to the other. So if we learn things where we don't have one amino acid, then after the fermentation, the fungi actually, we placed the amino acid composition in a way that you end up with this super high quality protein. It also has a higher bioavailability because the fungi is, in a way the anti nutrient that exists in lentils that disturbing our bodies for resolving the pain from the lentils. So just really enhancing all of these regional aspects of the lentils.
So I don't know if you can speak on this. But what exactly is a complete protein? You know, I know a complete protein has all the essential amino acids but what does that exactly mean? Like does a non complete protein? Does that just help your muscles less or if you don't have a complete protein, we'll just not help you build muscles and a complete protein will and then on a nutritional label like if something says you know 13% protein, you know, or, or 13 grams of protein, like does it not differentiate between a complete protein and a non complete protein? And should that be something that consumers should be aware of when they're looking on the back of packaging?
So Basically what most of the Christian world believe is that once you are eating the protein, then your body's separating the protein chain to the different amino acids. And then our body does not have the ability to synthesize all of the amino acids from scratch. So some amino acid can, you know, we placed one for the other, there are nine essential amino acids that our body cannot synthesize on its own, but it needs to get it like from outside. And then what is basically, the importance of getting all this done essential amino acids is that once the body is providing the protein chain to the setpoint amino acids, this wants to start building its own protein and building have the protein in our bodies within the muscle tissue. And when it starts building the muscle tissue, it takes the separate amino acids and start putting them together into the supporting chain. And if it needs this, one of its essential amino acids in it doesn't have it, then it stopped building the entire chain of the protein. And the whole chain is getting degraded and sent just to be burned out is simple carbohydrate. So with protein you have like basic sugar, and then a 10th grade is the amino group. And if the body decides that it cannot build a muscle tissue out of this specific amino acid, because you're lacking other amino acid needs to complete the chain, the body can just decide to use this amino acid as fuel and it will separate the amino group will be created in the UN, if you will eat a lot of 14, they will simply decrease the excessive amino warping in your urine. And then like all the protein that you eat in a way will just be used for fuel for the body for energy. So just calories, the same as if you wouldn't eat and carbohydrate or fat. And so it will not give you this unique advantage that you want for building muscle tissue, which is the reason why most people really, you know, make sure that they are within 14. So it is important to eat a complete protein. I will say that you can complete your protein source that one of the reasons that it is recommended to eat lentils together with grains, like lentils together with whites, is that the amino acid is lacking in the lentils, you have it in device and vice versa. So the length is like in one amino acid and the vice is lacking. In other words, if you eat them together, you will have a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids. So you can solve this one. And but it is important you have to eat a complete protein, the higher the quality of the protein, it's called the PCO. It's the quality of the protein in how closely resembles the supporting entities needed for the muscle tissue in our bodies. Then the higher it is you increase the chance that the protein you consume will go towards muscle building and not simply as calories for barley.
Do you know if most edible mushrooms and you know my mycelial strains that are used in say temp a without the grain? Are those a complete protein as they are?
Yeah, most most mushrooms have a complete protein but most mushrooms also have like very low levels of portends simply because much more than is very let's say it's a very fluffy thing. So within the day the water Yeah, yeah, exactly. Not only water, even air, I mean if it will take 100 gram of much warmth, you will not get a lot of protein out of it because yeah, most of it is air and water
interesting. And so can you can you kind of give like a How It's Made episode. A little quick rundown of how you make your products for people who are not familiar with solid state fermentation from step one of getting the grain to the end product, you know, packaging or grilling it up. How does this how is this made?
Yeah, sure. So we need to get the feedstock which is the let's say we decided we want to grow on Linux, we can go in any kind of gums and grain, but we chose the dentist for this one. So we bite out from a supplier. And then with the fungi, we are our own manufacturer, because our finest grain does not correlate. So we cannot buy just the spores and then use them. So we keep worrying it you know, on left facility and also doing this kind of preparation for it, and ready to be really vital and aggressive kind of it's both. So we can go really fast on this length that we want to go on. So we're doing the lentils, and we are giving them a pretreatment which mean mostly, we buy them twice, so we hydrate them back with water. And then we are doing this heat treatment. And then we are mixing up our fungi that we are prepared in our lab. And we will need to make some very small amounts like one milliliter of our fungi started with enough to inoculate to start the goal for a very long tray of lessons. So we put the small amount and we put it inside a archways closing they have leads, and then we simply put it in one room. And one more thing we need to keep there is the temperature struggle because the fungi doesn't like the temperature to go up and down. And that's it every all of the control regarding the different co2 and auto levels and the gas emissions, the humidity is all being done inside the tray. And after four days of glowing, work is ready, we can take out the tray read simply flip it and the product is dropping down we can either avoid you know is huge balk in the entire container on the tray. Or we can already vote in shapes. So we can go inside this specific molds like molds for ice cubes for example. And in that way we can already borrow in the end shapes we want people to consume it in. So we can go sausage in the shape of a sausage. And we can invoke Petey or meatball or bubblegum. And with those, we simply need to take them again out of the molds very simply by flipping it and we put it in a bag we freeze it. And that's it. It's ready to be shipped off to consumers.
That's awesome. When you said that I was picturing like dinosaur shapes for kids. Like those those dinosaur nuggets. Yeah, that would be so fun. That'd be really fun.
I know. I know my kids if they ask for it. Oh, amazing.
Yeah, that's version two. That's version two down the line. I would definitely buy that. You know, for me, I would eat I would eat dinosaur fungal nuggets for sure.
You know, I know it's just so so women it's so fun and kids love it. We should do the dance over
what what has been the hardest part of this journey? I'm I mean it sounds like this is a completely new product you're using a new type of fungi new grains. I mean it sounds like this is a you're kind of inventing this process and I'm sure it hasn't been easy and there's been tons of trial and error and research and development what what has been the hardest part?
Yeah, so you know for us because it's been dashes I mean vento then she took like really almost the 15 years of study that you did on fermentation and then implied to develop a unique way of fermentation what was the hardest part I feel like the hardest part was really getting the texture that we really want you know getting them mycelium to go in this really consistent way that we get the quality that we want like every single time and the texture is this boxing with extraordinaire is not shift in the material doesn't school like bidding on the side or whether on top of whether like everything has been going on in the same way this can quality issue was the biggest challenge
was Was there ever a moment that you wanted to give up like, like everything was going wrong and maybe you had a bunch of contamination was there ever like, you know, one day that that everything went wrong or has it been kind of a gradual process?
Yeah, of course I feel this is no microbiology does not experience it's one stage where you know, everything starts to get contaminated. And you work your brain to try to figure out where does the contamination come from. And at the end of the day, just, you know, going back back back back to the original stuff, throwing everything away starting a new and yeah, happened during my PhD happened to me, when we Yeah, it's always this one like contamination, you can understand where it's coming from.
Was there a point where you had kind of a surprise, or an accident, that turned out to be a great discovery, like you thought it was a mistake, but it ended up being part of, you know, a great breakthrough that now is crucial for your process. Now,
what does actually swung grateful, but they are now in the process of applying like a second patent on it. So we can't really elaborate or know. But there was one thing that we really thought it will be amazing if you can make it work, and it actually works between us. And, and we like opens up a different line of product that we really want to get into. But yeah, like, four months from now, we'll be able to elaborate more
days, was there anything that you really thought would work? And it just didn't?
Yeah, for sure. I mean, it's like very technical aspects. But I think it'd be much easier to like, make the size of the tree larger, or even to simply go in a bigger rich array. And then it became one of the main challenges for us to keep what he was talking about, even when we enlarge the size of the tray.
No, I we went through the same thing with our cordyceps farm is that we growing in small jars was so easy. I mean, that was foolproof. For us, we would barely it was a very, very rare occurrence if we had any contamination ever. But then, you know, I was like, oh, it's the same process just in a bigger container. Like, what? What should be so difficult, you know, and like, in my head, I was like, Yeah, this just same process, just bigger container like, what's, what's the catch was like contamination every single time and it was like, What is going on? And that stumped us for so long of like, it shouldn't be this hard. Like, why? What's going on? Like, why? It's just the same thing, just the bigger container? Like, it shouldn't be this hard. But it is. And yeah, so I feel that very deeply in my soul for many hours of cleaning out big bins full of TRICARE Derma. It Yeah, it is, it is, it is hard. And I'm glad you guys are going through it. So people can have access to this, you know, complete protein. And I liked what you said in an in an interview that you're not focused on replacing meat, but reducing it, you know, and I, I personally have that that relationship. I've, I've been fully vegetarian, fully vegan. And now I'm kind of like a flexitarian. And I view me as a supplement. I don't eat a lot of it. But you know, meat has things that I can't get from plants. And so I use it as a supplement. And I eat it every once in a while. And but I mostly eat plant based. And I think that just doing that, you know, having people eat just a little less meat will have a huge environmental impact. What is your relationship with it?
Yeah, no, I completely agree. I feel like people are so scared about knowing when he was out of 14 they think that we are all trying to get them to be vegans and completely change their lifestyle. And at the end of the day, like I mean, if one out of six people will become complete vegan, it will have the same effect. If everyone will simply have a meatless Monday. Why don't need to get everyone to go vegan to get the reduction in animal based consumption that we are looking for this only the need for people to shift the diet a bit like having the meatless Mondays, reducing the amount of meat that they consume. And luckily the process that I've been going through in the last year, I'm still eating meat. But I was actually reduced on consumption of meat from everyday in the week to about twice a week. And I feel like many people are going for this kind of ones. friction, not just from the ecological aspect of, you know, the climate crisis, but just from health benefits, people understand that it's healthier to either diet on plant based option. And I definitely one of the main reason we started the company was to give an alternative for these people. Because we, we thought that if someone is at Burger yesterday, then today is to plant based option, then you simply want something that is convenient, coffee, and tasty for himself, he doesn't necessarily want is to be a burger. Just want it to be tasty and healthy. So just trying to give up on trying to mimic animal based foods and focusing on given people really healthy, natural, delicious, convenient options when they want to choose a plant based option is what we're trying to do.
Yeah, and I've actually heard I don't know if this is true, and maybe it's changed over time. Or maybe at one point it was but I heard that Tel Aviv had the highest number percentages of vegans in the world. Have you heard that? After India? After India? That makes sense? Yeah, yeah. But a very high population in Israel. Is that, do you? Do you feel like that's accurate?
Yes, completely accurate. A lot of vegans and vegetarians you I mean, you cannot enter the rest of ones without having a vegan option. And very popular. Yeah, for sure.
And what is the general consensus around one fermented things in Israel, but also kind of like mushrooms and fungi? Do you feel like it's hard to get that across to people? Or do you feel like it's, it's the barrier, but it's not a roadblock.
So I feel like it's considered very kind of a premium niche subject. Most people have only eaten one kind of mushroom in their life. And that is, you know, champignon mushrooms or oyster mushrooms. And everything is different is this kind of really considered maybe Asian cuisine, or like kombucha, which is very kind of high end for, you know, certain high tech people that don't want to keep healthy, so they're not mainstream. And so I go to see a challenge for this kind of fermentation mushroom recommendation to enter as a mainstream, like, I want people to put it on the plate on kind of like a tofu or chicken waste right now. But I see the need for it. I mean, I say people are looking for this kind of solution for diets. But it will definitely require us to educate them to what they are eating and why it's so good for them.
Right, and I know you went through a seed fund, I think around 2020 And you went through kind of what looked like a business incubator and you're really growing Conoco tech and trying to make this accessible for people and I am curious, like, where you where you see the biggest impact, whether it's on pricing of just making it affordable for people and do you feel like price is a big kind of barrier of entry? Is it just education? So maybe, maybe it's like price the same as me or any other thing but it's just the people don't understand it? Or maybe it's just getting packaging that's friendly and doesn't feel too like bougie or two? Does that make sense? Like where do you feel like is the biggest barrier of entry to connect this product to people?
Yeah, so I will start with saying that they feel like the biggest value that we bring the unique value is both for the price point but also just the unprocessed ness of it the natural way that it ends up on your plate without any processing and after the challenge will be yeah again getting over I mean, how exactly are we going to give it to customers? How it will look like when it arrives to the customers whether it will look like it look really resembling animal based product or we'll give it up and then we will need to like customer acceptance to have it low because there's not resembles either tofu or in temporary is not many people are familiar with and So, yeah, I think them to understand what it is, like when they are looking at it, what it is they're seeing in how they should use it. And I feel like that would be the biggest challenge. And also, I will add the fact that there are many companies though, using the claims of natural and healthy, and we kind of lost consumers trust regarding those claims, because many companies are abusing those claims, saying them about product or not, within Natural and I'm not really healthy. So I definitely think that it backfired on us, especially with the plant based space, that we will have now have to work extra hard to convince consumers that we bring the real deal that when we really have a natural, we are not saying I mean, you get me to the trust issue now. Because so many plant based companies have been saying those claims about product though, by no way. natural and healthy.
Yeah, yeah, no, it's same with our space as well. It is an uphill battle of Outwitting the marketers who have very convincing marketing lingo. And you know, it is unfortunate when you are the real deal, and you have people out there kind of cutting corners and throwing a bunch of buzzwords out there that aren't really true. You know, we have a couple of minutes left, and I have about two or three more questions. The first being what has been kind of the most rewarding part of this journey.
I spent most of the boarding path is getting people to eat. Watch me, I'm going in Yes, getting feedback and seeing how much they love it. And I will even like being more specific and saying, getting people who like start with loving themselves. I'm accountable. I love me, I will not eat this, say whatever it is you're going to, I will not like it then like having the faces and saying, Wow. Like, no, no, it's good. Yeah, I agree. I mean, like having their mind change is something that is really rewarding. In my eyes.
That's awesome. I was just having a conversation with my good friend yesterday, because I saw this movie on the plane, called the lunchbox. And it's like this, this Hindi kind of cute love story about this woman who's cooking all this, this these lunches for this guy. And it's just kind of like, the whole movie is her cooking. And just getting you know, appreciation by sharing food. And my friend is a chef and and she loves cooking for her partner. And that's like a way that they connect. And, you know, I get it, you know, this, the soul of the house is in the kitchen and to like give people that nourish that nourishment and change their mind about it. That's That's huge. That's huge. Yeah. If you had, if you had unlimited funds, and an unlimited team, what would you do?
Well, I think I will do exactly what they do now. But they will do it faster. So love it. Yeah, I would just scale up faster when we go to different markets faster. I really try to get like our product. And that's really the health benefits to bring to as many people as possible, as fast as I can.
Alright, last question. Do you have any advice for people wanting to get into this field?
First of all, I finished a fascinating field. And I encourage more people to get into this mushroom base and see how we can we use this amazing organism to solve problems that humanity is facing. I feel like maybe the biggest tip that I can give is to never underestimate the importance of regulation and to start working on your regulation process yesterday. So like as soon as you begin toying with an idea, start in examine whether the regulation in the regulatory path makes sense and if not adjust your idea accordingly. And because at the end of the day, this is the most important aspect that will determine how fast you will get at the market.
Love it. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. Really appreciate it and wishing you the best of luck for bringing this amazing fungal ferment to people's plates and nourishing their bodies. I'm really excited to see this spread even beyond Israel to all Are all around the world. And you know, I'm excited to try it one day. And I hope people yeah, I'm excited for innovators like you bringing fungi into everyday products that people can enjoy. So that's really exciting. And that's why we bring on guests like you and guests from all over the world to geek out on how fungi are shaping and changing our lives. And I want to thank everyone for tuning in and tuning in for another episode. Hope everyone has a beautiful rest of your day. And if you liked the show, if you want to support we don't have a Patreon page. We don't take donations. So if you want to go to mushroom revival.com We have whole range of functional mushroom goodies from capsules to powders to gummies to tinctures so check it out for yourself for your friends for your family. If you want to leave a review or tell your friends and family about the show. That'd be awesome. We we want more people to tune in and get excited about mushrooms and and fungi. And with that, we hope everyone has a beautiful rest of your day sending everyone a big hug from wherever you are in the world. As always, much love and made the spores will be with you
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