Fibre extracted from white button mushroom could mean the end of animal-derived fining agents to filter beer.
Whilst beer doesn’t contain any animal ingredients, it is often filtered and clarified using fining agents such as isinglass – a substance derived from the swim bladder of fish – and pork gelatine, making it not suitable for vegan and vegetarians.
Launched in 2016, Canadian foodtech company Chinova Bioworks has developed a clean-label ingredient extracted from the stems of white button mushrooms that can replace fining agents in beer-making and be used as an ingredient solution in other food preparation, such as plant-based dairy, sauces and spreads and plant-based meat.
Chiber can be used in alcoholic drinks as a fining agent, and in juices, flavoured water, teas, energy drinks and carbonated drinks to prolong freshness, shelf life and improve quality.
The vegan, halal and kosher ingredient has no taste, smell or colour and can also be used as a preservative in food preparations such as sauces and spreads, dairy and plant-based dairy and vegan meats as it prevents spoilage that causes growth of mould, bacteria and yeast.
Chinova Bioworks also aims to reduce food waste by using the stems of white button mushrooms, which are generally discarded or recycled. The company states that the method of extracting the fibre from mushrooms is also eco-friendly as it requires minimal processing: it simply involves drying the mushroom, grinding it, and using heat and water to purify and extract the fibre from the stems.
The clean-label ingredient only contains dietary fibre chitosan and can be used as a replacement for artificial preservatives, as well as animal-derived ones.