Kelly Hensel

Kelly Hensel

White button mushrooms

Chinova’s proprietary fiber ingredient—called Chiber—is derived from the stems of white button mushrooms.

Chinova scientists working in a lab

In addition to being vegan and natural, the company claims that Chiber is cost effective, sustainable, odorless, tasteless, and doesn’t contain any allergenic materials from the mushroom. © Max Hood

Beer

Initial studies show that Chiber can be used to replace isinglass, a kind of gelatin obtained from fish swim bladders, in beer.

Natasha Dhayagude, CEO and co-founder of Chinova Bioworks

Natasha Dhayagude, CEO and co-founder of Chinova Bioworks

Startup Chinova Bioworks recently partnered with the College Communautaire du Nouveau Brunswick (CCNB) in Canada to develop a processing aid for vegan-friendly beers. At this point, you’re likely asking yourself, “Is beer not already vegan?”

While vegans, by definition, steer clear of the obvious culprits like eggs, milk, butter, and honey that are easily identifiable on ingredient lists, some might not realize that animal-derived and/or synthetic ingredients are often used in the processing of beer and other alcoholic beverages. And the tricky thing is that these ingredients aren’t always listed on the label.

“Many brewed beers and other alcoholic beverages include animal-based compounds that are added through the production process,” explains Natasha Dhayagude, CEO and co-founder of Chinova Bioworks. “For example, many include pepsin, a foaming agent obtained from stomach enzymes of pigs; chitin, derived from lobster and crab shells; as well as carmine, which is found in the crushed scales of cochineal insects.”

Another commonly used compound is isinglass, a kind of gelatin obtained from fish swim bladders. These ingredients—termed “fining agents”—are often used in the alcohol production and filtering process to make drinks appear clearer and brighter.

Through the partnership, the researchers have discovered that Chinova’s proprietary fiber ingredient derived from the stems of white button mushrooms—called Chiber—can be used to replace isinglass fining agents and synthetic polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (PVPP).

“Through this collaboration, early results have already shown that Chinova’s mushroom fiber works eight times faster at settling yeast post-fermentation and can even leave residual antimicrobial benefits to the beer, making it stay fresher, longer,” says Dhayagude. In addition to being vegan and natural, the company claims that Chiber is cost effective, sustainable, odorless, tasteless, and doesn’t contain any allergenic materials from the mushroom.

While many leading brews, including Budweiser, Coors, Corona, and Heineken have shifted their processing to eliminate animal-derived ingredients, some still rely on synthetic processing aids. Additionally, the use of isinglass and other animal-derived finings is still high among cask brewers in the United Kingdom in order to cut down on the time needed for unfined casks to settle.

Chiber is already being used to extend the shelf-life in various food and beverage applications including dairy, beverages, plant-based meat and dairy, sauces, and spreads. With the goal to go to market with Chiber for alcoholic beverages in the first quarter of 2022, the company is “currently working with early adopters for market testing,” explains Dhayagude, “while actively seeking more innovative companies to take part in the initiative.” In the future, the company hopes to launch additional product lines and find more applications for Chiber in categories like baked goods. 

About the Author

Kelly Hensel, Senior Digital Editor, reports on the latest industry and research news for ift.org and the Weekly newsletter. She also interviews chefs about the intersection of culinary and science for the Culinary Point of View column.
[email protected]
Kelly Hensel

Digital Exclusives right arrow

Coffee is the latest to be ‘grown’ in a lab

What if you could produce coffee in a lab using fewer resources and without the need for land? Researchers at VTT in Finland have done just that using cellular agriculture.

This Personal Pandemic Requires Collective Resolve

The COVID-19 virus sparked an acute health crisis, with near miracle accomplishments to develop vaccines in a year’s time, and national resolve to stem its devastation. But America’s existing obesity epidemic-pandemic (O E-P) is an enduring, chronic health crisis.

SnapDNA is the 2021 IFTNEXT Food Disruptor

SnapDNA, creator of a rapid pathogen detection system for food processing facilities, clinched top honors and a $25,000 prize as the winner of the IFTNEXT Food Disruption Challenge™ Pitch Competition, held Wednesday during the FIRST virtual event.

Experts Unpack Conflicting Consumer Priorities, Values, and Demands

Values-based marketing and two-way dialogue will become essential tools for CPG brands to engage with an increasingly informed, opinionated—and often conflicted—consumer base, a duo of marketing and consumer behavior experts told FIRST attendees on Wednesday.

Food Technology Articles right arrow

Small Additions for Maximum Impact

A look at the use of inclusions in product formulations.

Moving Toward a More Circular Food System Via Upcycling

Upcycling transforms traditionally discarded agricultural and food waste into added-value products.

Controlling Moisture in Foods Using Packaging

This column offers information about how effective packaging can play a major role in maintaining product moisture to extend the shelf life of food.

Morning Wellness

An overview of healthy breakfast food ingredients.

Latest Brain Food right arrow

IFT Celebrates 12 Winners of FDA Low- or No-Cost Food Traceability Challenge

FDA recently announced the winners of its public challenge designed to spur the creation of affordable traceability tools as part of its New Era of Smarter Food Safety efforts.

Baby Food, Traceability, and Digital Tools—Discover the Latest in Food Safety

In honor of National Food Safety Education Month, we highlight three sessions from FIRST, IFT’s new annual event experience, that explored important areas in food safety.

New Program Highlights Untapped Potential of Using Food Science for Relief and Development Initiatives

The new field of Food Science for Relief and Development (FSRD) offers a fresh, high-impact approach to tackling problems of global food security, poverty, and malnutrition.

Food Processing 101

Food processing is essential in transforming agricultural feedstocks into the food we consume. Understand how often misunderstood processed food differs from food processing.