Fusarium graminearum
Amber Nations


Fusarium graminearum is a "highly palatable organism" first isolated from the soil in Buckinghamshire, England.  It is a microscopic fungus that grows in the form of tiny threads.  Upon its isolation it was only known to cause head blight in oats and barley, but is now known to be a very healthy meat substitute.  It contains twelve-percent protein and lacks animal fat and cholesterol.  Also, due to its fibrous structure, it has gastrointestinal advantages and may help cut cholesterol in the bloodstream.

During the aarly 1960's, various organisms were being tested for their nutritional value to humans, especially their protein content.  Then, scientists predicted that a meat shortage would occur in the eighties due to a large jump in human population.  They were convinced that a meat substitute must be found soon.

Shortly after investigations began, the nutritional value of F. graminearum was discovered.  However, it was not popularized until the early nineties when Marlow Foods coined the organism "Quorn' and constructed a multimillion dollar production company to grow it. Since then, Marlow Foods has become a multinational production company.  The success of Quorn farms is partially because it grows on glucose, making it an adaptable crop that can be grown on any cheap, abundant vegetable from anywhere in the world.  It is also an inexpensive crop because, unlike, soybeans in tofu, its texture, bread dough-like when reaped, makes, processing it into fibers unnecessary.

Quorn is artificially flavord and is usually used as a substitute for beef or chicken.  It is available in mince and chunk, and also as sausages, nuggets or fillets.  There are many recipes for the meat substitute including quiches, chow mien, and casseroles.  Quorn can be microwaved, barbecued, stir-fried, grilled, boiled and even marinated.  One add slogan says, "Just heat and eat."

It seems as if Quorn is too good to be true.  It is nutritious, and may even have health benefits, it is inexpensive to produce, its taste and texture is meaty, and it is much more convenient to prepare than meat.  Hopefully, soon Marlow Foods will expand to the U.S so that we can have a taste of this great microscopic fungus.

Quorn Chow Mein


Dixon, Bernard.  Power Unseen, How Microbes Rule the World.  Pg 165-68, 124


*Disclaimer - This report was written by a student participaring in a microbiology course at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. The accuracy of the contents of this report is not guaranteed and it is recommended that you seek additional sources of information to verify the contents.


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