Healthy and nutritional staple food
First prototype of the suitable biosphere showcased in the PuraDome
At the headquarters of Puratos in Groot-Bijgaarden, Puratos is investigating how to sustainably cultivate wheat in hermetically closed and fully controlled environments and how to develop tasty and nutritional sourdough breads from these harvests. In practice, this research is taking place in four coupled containers, located in the PuraDome, in which the climate can be adapted to make it suitable for crop growth, with optimal use of resources.
Never compromise on nutrition, health and taste
As an alternative to baker’s yeast Puratos is using sourdough, a natural fermentation technology, to improve the bioavailability of nutrients, the digestibility and the sensorial perception of whole wheat bread applications. Developing a robust sourdough that allows the production of tasty and nutritious products will enable the first Martian bakers and artisan and industrial bakers around the globe to use this technology in the diverse environments of their bakeries.
Puratos is evaluating crops that can complement wheat-based products to balance the nutritional content and protein profile to create applications in line with our daily needs regarding proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins.
Task 1 - Wheat production in controlled environments
To capture the complete bread making process,it is necessary to start at the base of the production cycle, i.e. wheat cultivation. This will allow Puratos to link events in the primary production to the characteristics of flour and bread. With this research, Puratos focuses on the understanding and optimization of wheat cultivation in a closed biosphere, taking into account productivity, flour and baking characteristics as main criteria.
Task 2 - Development of the Mars sourdough
Sourdough methods have since ancient times been key for dough leavening in bread applications. The microorganisms present in the flour use starch and minerals from the flour to ferment and increase bread volume while organic molecules create the flavors. These processes deliver the specific characteristics regarding dough strength, softness, freshness, odor and taste. Puratos investigates the sourdough starter development within the closed biosphere and how to improve established consortia to create a robust sourdough that can be used for leavening of bread(-like) products.
Task 3 - Highly nutritional bread
At first instance the research of bread production on Mars focuses on the production and processing of wheat. Additionally Puratos will investigate alternative crops which bring additional nutritional value to the Mars bread and are able to grow in a vertical farm. Agronomical characteristics and nutritional values of the crops form the base of a preselection of a limited number of crops which will further be analyzed in baking trials, to in the end create a highly nutritional, tasty and well textured bread.
Meet the Puratos expert
Research Manager Agronomy
Bert Schamp is a research manager at Puratos and has a degree in applied biosciences. As a researcher he has a track record in the topics sustainable agriculture, vertical farming and smart farming techniques. At Puratos he takes up the role as agronomist and is responsible for the Mission to Mars program and the Spacebakery project. The focus lies on sustainable crop production and processing in controlled environments.