Student project

Food with Microbes

Project goal

Create new food products and food ingredients by using fermentation as a method to transform by-products and underutilized raw materials from the food industry.

Taking inspiration from Natto production, our hope and goal is to produce food that will both reduce food waste and improve human health.


The healthy, traditional Japanese dish Natto, which is produced by fermenting whole soybeans with Bacillus subtilis Natto, served as inspiration for the onset for our project. In natto production, the fermentation results in the production of vitamin K and nattokinase, which is thought to be a novel enzyme for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, due to its ability to reduce blood clotting.

Natto uses soybeans as an energy source for the starter culture. Since soybeans are not very sustainable in Western countries, we decided to look for ingredients with a similar composition that could produce similar results, but with less impact on the environment.

We developed our project as a part of the course Integrated product innovation in the food industry at DTU.


We use Bacillus s. natto to ferment local, raw materials to obtain new ingredients. This project is grounded in research performed on the Japanese food Natto, which has a unique texture and important healthy properties.

We have found that the fermentation results in interesting texture and flavour, which may in the future substitute animal-based products, like egg and collagen. Particularly, fermentation with beetroot has been successful, but a lot of knowledge and product development is still needed to obtain the full potential of fermentation with Bacillus subtilis var. natto.

The project has required a lot of trial and error in DTU Skylab Foodlab, by trying out many different ingredients, such as bread, beetroot and different varieties of potatoes. In the end, we found that fermentation of beetroot seemed to be the most promising, as the resultant product presents an interesting texture, flavour and smell.

These properties could have many potential applications in the food industry. Although, the fermented beetroot's possible health properties - either as a probiotic, or as a source of vitamin K - could be more interesting; however, to prove effectively that this product does indeed possess them, further research is required.