Company using yellow fungi to grow vegan products

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- Yellowstone National Park is dilatory re-opening aft damaging floods past week, and a Chicago institution is intimately monitoring the concern from 1,300 miles away.

Morning Insider Lauren Victory shares the cardinal relation the parkland played successful the increasing business.

On the tract of an aged hog processing installation astatine Pershing Road and Halsted Street, you'll find accumulation of caller benignant of macromolecule called Fy.

It mightiness not look precise appetizing portion its being grown, but meal patties made of Fy are starting to turn successful popularity particularly successful the vegan world.

"We don't request pesticide. We don't request insecticide. We don't request hormone," said Thomas Jonas, CEO and co-founder of Nature's Fynd, the institution that developed Fy.

It isn't animal-based oregon plant-based. Fy is from fungi. It's made from microbes.

"If you ever had a brew successful your life, if you ever had a portion of food successful your life, past you astir apt person – you really person – eaten thing that is made with microbes," explained Jonas.

CBS 2 got a circuit of the Fy-making process astatine the company's works successful the Back of the Yards neighborhood. The microbe gets loaded with nutrients and multiplies successful a fermentation room. Then it grows into a coagulated protein. About 4 days aft the start, a robot helps "harvest" the Fy. It is past processed and packaged into 2 kinds of meal patties and 2 types of dairy-free pick cheese.

Nature's Fynd developed its Fy-growing exertion successful Chicago, but the edible fungi originally comes from acidic springs successful Yellowstone National Park. It was discovered arsenic portion of a NASA-funded probe ngo astir beingness successful utmost environments.

"Considering the past that we person with the park, and the concern that we person contiguous with the park, it's adjacent much heartbreaking," said Jonas, talking astir the devastating flooding the deed Yellowstone earlier this month.

Roads washed away, forcing parkland closures, which past prevented visitors from trying Nature's Fynd products that were disposable astatine Yellowstone for the archetypal clip this season.

Back successful Chicago, increasing the macromolecule is going truthful good that a 2nd mill is successful the works, and nutrient scientists are already investigating retired what's adjacent connected the menu.

CBS 2 asked if the nationalist parks strategy and/or the national authorities supports the enactment Nature's Fynd is doing, fixed that the microbe came from Yellowstone and the institution is present monetizing it.

"It was precise important for america to springiness backmost to the park. We deliberation the parkland ngo is thing that was truly meaningful and important for each of us," said Jonas. "So, we approached the parkland and really enactment successful spot a benefits-sharing program. And we're precise arrogant of that. It's thing that matters to us."

The institution besides precocious donated to flooding alleviation efforts, honoring the park's past portion serving up the future.

In a fewer weeks, Nature's Fynd exertion is scheduled to spell into space. The mission: spot if Fy tin beryllium grown connected the International Space Station to supply nutrient to astronauts.

Lauren Victory


Lauren Victory is simply a Morning Insider newsman for CBS2 Chicago. Lauren joined the presumption successful May 2016 and is simply a postgraduate of the Medill School of Journalism astatine Northwestern University.

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