An Easier Way to Go Vegan: Vitamin B12 Can be Produced during Dough Fermentation

Grain-based materials fermented with Propionibacterium freudenreichii have enough vitamin B12 to be nutritionally significant. With the help of Lactobacillus brevis in the fermentation process, vegans can also be guaranteed a sufficient and safe B12 intake directly from grain-based food, without pills.

Vitamin B12 is an essential micronutrient that is needed for functions such as maintaining the nervous system and forming blood cells. However, B12 is mainly found in food of animal origin. Those who consume only small amounts of animal products or are vegan must therefore take B12 in the form of pills or eat food to which industrially produced B12 has been added.

“In situ fortification of B12 via fermentation could be a more cost-effective alternative. And as a commonly consumed staple food, grains are excellent vehicles for enrichment with micronutrients,” explains Chong Xie from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, about the background of his doctoral dissertation.

Xie used 11 different grain-based materials and fermented them with Propionibacterium freudenreichii – the only B12-producing micro-organism accepted for food products.

Propionibacterium freudenreichii, the essential microbe in making Emmental cheese, produced nutritionally significant amounts of vitamin B12 in most of the fermented grain materials. During the three-day fermentation process, rice bran and buckwheat bran had the highest B12 production. The addition of Lactobacillus brevis was able to dominate indigenous microbes during fermentation and greatly improved microbial safety during the fermentation process.

Source: University of Helsinki

Vegan Spicy Korean BBQ Tofu Satay


1 (1-pound) block extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed

Spicy Korean Barbecue Sauce

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 tablespoon minced garlic
10 ounces roasted red peppers
1 cup water
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion


  1. For the Spicy Korean BBQ Sauce, into a blender, add soy sauce, oil, rice vinegar, agave, ginger powder, garlic, roasted red peppers, and water and blend until smooth. Stir in red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and scallion. Pour into an airtight container and store in refrigerator.
  2. For the satay, cut block of tofu into thin strips about 1 inch wide and 1/4 inch in thickness and length. Place tofu strips in a shallow dish, and cover with Spicy Korean BBQ Sauce. Marinate overnight in refrigerator.
  3. Preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat. When ready to cook, thread each strip lengthwise onto 18 to 24 skewers. Grill for 5 minutes per side, or until there is no resistance when flipping. Tofu will stick to grill until it is ready to be flipped. Remove from heat and enjoy.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Veg News magazine

Vegan Egg Product Segment is Fastest Growing Plant-Based Category

JUST Egg reported that they have sold the plant-based equivalent of 50 million eggs. This is not insignificant, and to celebrate we decided to take a look at JUST as well as some of the other popular plant-based egg brands around the planet in this rapidly developing market, disrupting the cruel and unnecessary poultry industry.

According to JUST, egg is the fastest-growing plant-based category by far, with dollar sales surging 192% in the last year. The global egg replacement market was worth $966 million in 2016 and is estimated to reach $1373.4 million by 2023, this being a conservative figure projected back at the end of 2018 before the category surged. North America is leading the market.

JUST Egg, which launches into Canada this autumn and has plans to expand into Asia and Europe, reports that as a brand it owns about 99% of the vertical in the US, stating, “We’re now growing faster than the top-selling plant-based meat and milk products, like Beyond Meat and Oatly, in Conventional Grocery.”

At the end of May, we reported that JUST Egg had sold the equivalent of 40 million eggs and had plans to expand into India, meaning that roughly ten weeks equates to ten million, which not only saves a lot of animal lives and suffering, but equates to removing the harmful planetary effects of intensive farming.

Other leading vegan egg brands disrupting the market around the world include the following:

Spero Foods – USA (liquid)

Spero’s all-natural foods include ‘Scramblit’, a superfood egg alternative which provides more protein, omega 3’s, iron, zinc, magnesium and 30X the antioxidants of poultry eggs, and is also 20X more sustainable. The brand has received numerous awards and accolades including winning a place in ‘Forbes Under 30 Most Innovative’.

Oggs – UK (liquid)

The Oggs product is based on aquafaba, or chickpea water. Oggs claims that its aquafaba is the first ever patented product to replace liquid eggs in baking and claims that it “whips and whisks just like an egg, every time.”

Veggletto -Australia (powder)

Established in 2017 by Dr. David Lewis (Innovation Director) and Dr Deborah Lewis (CEO) who pledged to research and develop technologies for egg replacement that offer consumers with egg-free, egg-like foods that first and foremost tasted like eggs, cooked like eggs and were healthy, nutritious and affordable.

Evo Foods – India (liquid)

Received backing from Ryan Bethencourt of Wild Earth, Stephanie Downs – serial entrepreneur and co-founder at Material Innovation Initiative, and Big Idea Ventures. The Mumbai-based company is part of the Big Ideas New York City accelerator cohort. Founders Kartik Dixit & Shraddha Bhansali say they are on a mission to bring the plant-based revolution to India.

Other noteables include Follow Your Heart’s VeganEgg in the US and Clara Foods’ vegan egg white product.

Vegan egg brands, we salute you.

Source: Vegconomist

Flexible Sweat Sensor Can be Sewn on Clothing

Engineers at Tufts University have created a first-of-its-kind flexible electronic sensing patch that can be sewn into clothing to analyze your sweat for multiple markers. The patch could be used to to diagnose and monitor acute and chronic health conditions or to monitor health during athletic or workplace performance. The device, described today in the journal NPJ Flexible Electronics, consists of special sensing threads, flexible electronic components and wireless connectivity for real time data acquisition, storage and processing.

Typical consumer health monitors can track heart rate, temperature, glucose, walking distance and other gross measurements. But a more detailed understanding of the health, stress and performance of an individual is required for medical data collection or high performance athletic or military applications. In particular, metabolic markers such as electrolytes and other biological molecules provide a more direct indicator of human health for accurate assessment of athletic performance, workplace safety, clinical diagnosis, and managing chronic health conditions.

The patch device created by the Tufts engineers performs real-time measurements of important biomarkers present in sweat including sodium and ammonium ions (electrolytes), lactate (a metabolite) and acidity (pH). The device platform is also versatile enough to incorporate a wide range of sensors cabable of tracking nearly every marker present in sweat. The measurements taken can have useful diagnostic applications. For example, sodium from sweat can indicate the hydration status and electrolyte imbalance in a body; lactate concentration can be an indicator of muscle fatigue; chloride ion levels can be used to diagnosis and monitor cystic fibrosis; and cortisol, a stress hormone, can be used to assess emotional stress as well as metabolic and immune functions.

Athletes could monitor a wide range of markers during physical exertion to aid in predicting performance peaks or declines during competition.

The ability to integrate the sensors into clothing is made possible by flexible threads coated with conductive inks. Different coatings alter the functionality of the threads; for example, lactate can be detected by coating a thread with an enzymatic sensing material incorporating the enzyme lactate oxidase. A pH sensing thread is coated with polyaniline that responds to acidity, and so on. The array of thread sensors is integrated into clothing or a patch and connected to a miniature circuit module and microprocessor, with wireless capability to communicate with a smartphone.

“Sweat is a useful fluid for heath monitoring since it is easily accessible and can be collected non-invasively,” said Trupti Terse-Thakoor, formerly a post-doctoral scholar at Tufts University School of Engineering and first author of the study. “The markers we can pick up in sweat also correlate well with blood plasma levels which makes it an excellent surrogate diagnostic fluid.”

Researchers tested the device on human subjects, monitoring their electrolyte and metabolite response during a maximum exertion exercise on stationary bikes. The sensors were able to detect variation in analyte levels as they moved up and down, within 5 to 30 second intervals – sufficient for most real-time tracking needs. The subjects included men and women with a range of physical conditioning, from physically active on a performance-tailored diet, to individuals who were not physically active and had no specific dietary restrictions. While the current study was not meant to determine a correlation between analyte readings and performance and conditioning, it did establish that the sensor was able to detect consistent patterns of analyte expression that could be used for future studies identifying these correlations.

“The sensor patch that we developed is part of a larger strategy to make completely flexible thread-based electronic devices,” said Sameer Sonkusale, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tufts’ School of Engineering and corresponding author of the study. “Flexible devices woven into fabric and acting directly on the skin means that we can track health and performance not only non-invasively, but completely unobtrusively – the wearer may not even feel it or notice it.”

Source: Tufts University

How Streetlights Might Affect Your Colon Cancer Risk

Cities around the world are increasingly turning to streetlights emitting so-called “blue light,” and it’s also common in smartphones, laptops and tablets. Now, a study hints that excess exposure to blue-spectrum light might raise a person’s odds for colon cancer.

As a team of Spanish researchers noted, prior studies have suggested that blue light emitted by most white LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and many tablets and phones was linked to ailments such as sleep disorders, obesity and an increased risk of various cancers, especially among night-shift workers.

One study also found a link between blue light and an increased risk of breast and prostate cancer, the researchers said.

“Using the same methodology as the previous study, we decided to analyze the relationship between exposure to artificial light and colorectal cancer, the third most common type of cancer worldwide after lung and breast cancer,” researcher Manolis Kogevinas, of the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, said in an institute news release.

For the study, Kogevinas and colleagues tracked data on about 2,000 adults living in Barcelona and Madrid. Of this group, 660 had colon cancer while the rest were randomly selected from the general population. People who worked night shifts were excluded from the research.

The study wasn’t able to determine that blue light exposures caused colon cancer, it could only point at associations. However, people with the highest exposures to blue light had a 60% higher risk of developing colon cancer compared to those who were less exposed, the researchers reported.

There could be physiological reasons for the effect Kogevinas explained.

“Nighttime exposure to light, especially blue-spectrum light, can decrease the production and secretion of melatonin, depending on the intensity and wavelength of the light,” he said.

“There is growing concern about the effects of light on ecosystems and human health. Research on the potential effects of light exposure is still in its infancy, so more work is needed to provide sound, evidence-based recommendations to prevent adverse outcomes,” Kogevinas added.

The research team stressed that it was tough to account for certain factors in their research. For example, the group relied on satellite imaging to gauge the amount of blue light emitted at night in various locales. But the study couldn’t account for the nighttime use of light-barring rolling shutters on windows — a common feature on Spanish housing. So the study is really trying to assess exposure to light when people are outside at night, the team said.

One U.S. expert in gastrointestinal disease called the study “interesting.”

The research is “expanding the idea of light pollution to something that may have biological consequences,” said Dr. Arun Swaminath, who directs the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Still, there are many unanswered questions, he said, especially the fact that participants’ blue light exposure “was obtained by history taking, but it couldn’t account for things like blinds/curtains that would affect how much exposure some had to light.”

The report was published online in the journal Epidemiology.

Source: HealthDay

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