What is Air Protein and Could it Be the Future? – Muscle & Fitness

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Air protein may sound like the latest offering from Michael Jordan, but it is in fact a potential new source of muscle-building fuel that could be a gamechanger. And, far from being science fiction, the substance known as Solein is gaining ground. Here’s wat you need to know.

What is Air Protein?

Dubbed by its inventors; Solar Foods, as “Protein out of thin air,” Solein is touted as a “natural protein for every food imaginable.”. It is neither animal or vegetable but can be added to any food to boost it’s overall protein content. The makers say that Solein is gluten free, 100% vegan, and can be consumed by all, irrespective of religion. Because Solein has a balanced nutritional profile, it can support those who eat little or no meat, since it contains all nine essential amino acids along with iron and other minerals that are difficult to absorb in fully plant-based diets. On the flip side, Solein helps to replicate the positives of a plant-based diet, thanks to its lipid profile; offering unsaturated fatty acids and lower levels of cholesterol than are associated with eating meat.

How is Air Protein Made?

“Born from air and electricity,” Solar Foods launched Solein in 2021. Now they’ve built a dedicated factory named ‘Factory 01.’ The manufacturing process uses a gas fermentation process, similar to that used in the making of lager. “Where beer uses sugar, wheat, and starch to convert the sugar material into alcohol, this is using gas as a feed which includes carbon dioxide – hence the term ‘air protein’,” says Dr Ying Zhang, a molecular microbiologist and assistant professor at the University of Nottingham, talking to BBC Science Focus. According to the official Solein website, this new protein originates from a natural, unmodified, single-cell organism  and can be distributed in powder form meaning that it can easily be added to a vast array of food and drinks.

Is Air Protein a Sustainable Choice?

The source organism feeds on minerals, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and hydrogen, while the hydrogen itself is created by splitting water molecules found in the air. The resulting bacterial evolves into an edible offering that is fit for market and shows great promise for sustainability because Solein promises many of the benefits of an animal-based diet without the need to slaughter a single one. Aside from the fact that hydrogen is highly explosive to work with, the studying of Solein for its food safety is ongoing.

Still, there is no doubt that the human race needs to re-think the way that we eat. The methane associated with rearing livestock is a driving force of global warming, and is having a detrimental effect on our rivers and streams. “A revolution is needed in the way we produce and consume protein,” reads the Solein company website. “The ecosystems of the planet can’t keep up with humanity’s desire for meat, eggs, dairy, soy, and all other conventional sources of protein.” The makers say that it’s manufacturing process boasts all of the protein while using less greenhouse gas emissions than plant or meat protein operations. While Solein is gaining ground, and now has food regulatory approval in Singapore, important markets like the USA and the UK are yet to give it the greenlight. It’s still early days for “Air” protein, but it could be the muscle building choice of the future.

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