With several patents issued, MycoTechnology, a Denver startup, is using proprietary strains of mushrooms to remove the bitterness from foods and improve the flavor of all manner of products, from coffee to tea to chocolate.
In a recent announcement, MycoTechnology says this mushroom-based, food-grade powder can be sprinkled into anything to inhibit the reception of bad tastes to make them more palatable.
If a legitimate scientific discovery, this new product would be the first universal bitter blocker of its kind.
The company recently closed upwards of $8 million in a combination of Series A and previous funding.
When you picture a mushroom in your mind, you probably think of the cap and the stem, but the portion that MycoTechnology uses is only the part found underground, the vegetative portion called the mycelium.
Mycelium can decompose plant material in the soil, distribute nutrients as needed and break down biological polymers into smaller units. MycoTechnology discovered it does the same thing when applied to various unwanted constituents of food.
When it comes to bitterness, there are 25 variations of the bitterness taste receptor. MycoTechnology has “identified seven different molecules that contribute to bitterness in coffee that we can modify,” says James P. Langan, MycoTechnology’s vice president of innovation.
MycoTechnology’s biggest claim is its ability to produce a version of stevia without the bitter and metallic aftertaste, which is something beverage makers, and stevia makers, have been struggling with since the DA approved it as a food additive in 2008.
Typically, low-calorie sodas made with stevia also include sugar, which is used to mask the unwanted flavor. This added sugar increases cost and calories, two things soda makers would give anything to ditch.
MycoTechnology has a patent filed for its ability to remove the aftertaste from the stevia plant. The product, named MycoZyme, works by “inhibiting bitter taste receptors from binding with a bitter tastant.”
As the company quickly files patents, pulls in funding and hires more scientists, one can imagine the next steps for its food processing platforms might be towards functional foods, a growing field of products that an all-natural claim would only benefit.
And you thought mushrooms were magical before.