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06 Jun 2024

AkkMore: Can This Fungi Fat Help Restaurants Tackle Obesity and Enhance Gut Health?

AkkMore: Can This Fungi Fat Help Restaurants Tackle Obesity and Enhance Gut Health?
Researchers in Hong Kong have developed a fungi-derived fat alternative that can decrease the fat content of a product and improve gut health and metabolic benefits.

The alt-fat world has been blossoming lately. Microbesmicroalgaecarbon, you name it – startups all over the world are using techniques like fermentation to come up with fats that are better for you, and better for the Earth.

These also hold a key to the progress of an Ozempic-hit food industry, which has contributed to and coincided with a rising awareness of gut health and metabolism.

Joining this list of innovations is AkkMore, a fungi-derived fat designed to replace animal fats while preventing obesity and metabolic diseases, enhancing gut health and immunity, and relieving anxiety. That is the promise of its creators from Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s (PolyU) Research Institute for Future Food (RiFood) and Department of Food Science and Nutrition (FSN).

“Our research team has completed three rounds of animal trials on AkkMore. The results show that the formula can effectively improve metabolism and aid in weight management,” said project co-lead Gail Jinhui Chang, a research assistant professor at FSN. “Moving forward, we are focusing on exploring applications of AkkMore in the development of healthy food.”

Hitting health and sustainability touchpoints

The PolyU researchers have been working on AkkMore since 2022, finding a way to extract the functional component from natural fungal sources. While conducting animal trials puts a question mark over the welfare aspects of the product, mice that had been administered the AkkMore formula were found to have a healthier gut microbiota, indicating better weight management, gut health, immune and metabolic system, and anxiety management.

The research won a Silver Medal at the 2022 International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva, and its applications for health benefits are being evaluated for patent filings.

“This collaboration is testament to the successful translation of a research outcome,” said Chang. “Moving forward, we will further explore the application of AkkMore formula in innovative health foods and put greater efforts into identification of mushroom strains with better functions and standardisation of the cultivation process.”

In addition to lowering the calorific content of food, AkkMore is also said to extend the shelf life of cream products, and have thickening, emulsifying and stabilising properties. Leveraging these attributes, the PolyU team developed Cream Mate, an alternative cream that can be used in conjunction with conventional cream to reduce the latter’s content in desserts.

This, the researchers argue, could help cut dairy consumption and food waste in the long run, contributing to lower greenhouse gas emissions and higher manufacturing productivity.

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