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  • Unconventional Ag

Denver Startup is Making Gluten Free Wheat Using Mushrooms

The gluten-free market boom presents a tremendous opportunity for food companies as estimates suggest the gluten free market will exceed $15 billion in yearly sales by 2016. Food giants, such as Pizza Hut, General Mills and even Girl Scout cookies, are capitalizing on growing demand by are offering gluten free options. Now, Denver-based startup, MycoTechnology has developed what can be deemed a gluten-free wheat.

The company uses a proprietary MycoSmooth mushroom technology that uses the mycelia, or root structure of certain mushrooms, to strip wheat kernels of enough of their gluten to warrant it being qualified for FDA approval as ‘gluten free’. Third party independent testing has confirmed that the process removes 99.9998% of wheat’s gluten content, leaving only 30 parts per million (ppm). For a product to receive FDA approval as being gluten free, it must have 20 ppm or less of gluten. MycoTechnologies states that once its flour is treated with additives such as sorghum, guar gum, or tapioca to replace the lost texture that comes with gluten removal, their product will qualify.

Gluten removal was not the original focus of the two year old company. Originally the business was concentrating on the goals of improving taste and nutrition and removing toxins from foods. Using its proprietary mushrooms, the company has also developed methods of reducing the metallic taste in stevia, removing the bitterness in cacao beans, and lowering the acidity in coffee beans.

The startup is currently in the process of closing a Series A round of financing and is seeking partners that are interested in licensing their process, milling their flour and commercializing their resulting product.

Processes such as this that create foods that are not genetically modified and not simply ‘value added’ but instead create foods that are very similar to the original, such as dairy products made entirely from yeast or plant-based egg replacers, are presenting new challenges to the food production industry, which must soon develop guidelines for such products.

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