Substituting meat for mycoprotein reduces genotoxicity and increases the abundance of beneficial microbes in the gut: Mycomeat, a randomised crossover control trial

Dominic Farsi*, Jose Lara Gallegos, Georgios Koutsidis, Tim J. A. Finnigan, William Cheung, Jose L. Muñoz-Muñoz, Daniel M. Commane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose
The high-meat, low-fibre Western diet is strongly associated with colorectal cancer risk. Mycoprotein, produced from Fusarium venanatum, has been sold as a high-fibre alternative to meat for decades. Hitherto, the effects of mycoprotein in the human bowel have not been well considered. Here, we explored the effects of replacing a high red and processed meat intake with mycoprotein on markers of intestinal genotoxicity and gut health.

Methods
Mycomeat (clinicaltrials.gov NCT03944421) was an investigator-blind, randomised, crossover dietary intervention trial. Twenty healthy male adults were randomised to consume 240 g day−1 red and processed meat for 2 weeks, with crossover to 2 weeks 240 g day−1 mycoprotein, separated by a 4-week washout period. Primary end points were faecal genotoxicity and genotoxins, while secondary end points comprised changes in gut microbiome composition and activity.

Results
The meat diet increased faecal genotoxicity and nitroso compound excretion, whereas the weight-matched consumption of mycoprotein decreased faecal genotoxicity and nitroso compounds. In addition, meat intake increased the abundance of Oscillobacter and Alistipes, whereas mycoprotein consumption increased Lactobacilli, Roseburia and Akkermansia, as well as the excretion of short chain fatty acids.

Conclusion
Replacing red and processed meat with the Fusarium-based meat alternative, mycoprotein, significantly reduces faecal genotoxicity and genotoxin excretion and increases the abundance of microbial genera with putative health benefits in the gut. This work demonstrates that mycoprotein may be a beneficial alternative to meat within the context of gut health and colorectal cancer prevention.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Early online date18 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jan 2023

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