The appeal of plant-based meat developed from 30 years of research
What is the Ochiai Germination Method?
A This is a new cultivation method discovered while examining various physiological phenomena in the soybean germination process related to environmental stress.
Once the genes for germination are awakened and activated, the metabolism of seeds, including soybeans, is explosively activated to produce large amounts of energy and promote growth. The seeds, activated and awakened by germination, are also very busy releasing enzymes that rapidly break down stored starch and protein into sugars and amino acids. The Ochiai Germination Method focuses on these post-germination metabolic chain reactions. Hence the soybean (plant) just after germination, which has just awakened and become active, is targeted rather than the suspended state of the soybean seed (grain).
Exposing soybeans to stressful growth conditions by regulating oxygen, carbon dioxide, temperature, moisture, and so on during germination activates additional metabolic processes not normally found in seed germination. By doing this, enzyme activity and the rate of decomposition reactions, as well as the amount of free amino acids, rapidly increase. This is the basic principle.
At DAIZ, soybeans are germinated packed into tanks. Doing so rapidly raises the temperature of the soybeans in the germination tank. Oxygen is rapidly consumed and in turn, the amount of carbon dioxide increases. This environment is very stressful for germinating soybeans. As such, degradative and synthetic enzymes in the soybeans go into full operation to cope with the severe stress, and metabolism is accelerated to breakneck speed.
What is the result of this?
A Firstly, our soybeans taste better by far.
After about 13 hours, glutamic acid (the source of umami) is 5.5 times higher than that of regular cooked soybeans, arginine (the source of energy) is 1.45 times higher, isoflavone is 4.3 times higher, and GABA is 3.5 times higher due to enzyme activation.
Second, although many plant amino acids have a high molecular-weight, the Ochiai Germination Method lowers the molecular weight of the amino acids by making the enzymes more active, which allows for better digestion and absorption.
Lastly, could you explain the appeal of the Ochiai Germination Method in layman’s terms?
The Ochiai Germination Method is characterized by the fact that it fundamentally changes the composition of soybeans in just 12 to 15 hours without any genetic modifications. It means that the soybeans before entering the tank and the soybeans coming out of the tank are different soybeans.
So they are not just germinated soybeans.
Introducing the Discoverer of the Ochiai Germination Method
The creator of the Ochiai Germination Method is Koji Ochiai (Director of DAIZ).
He has conducted thousands of germination experiments to analyze the functionality of ungerminated and germinated seeds.
His life's work is to find out what is happening in the organism of the seed at the moment of germination.
- Koji Ochiai
Born in 1967, he graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture at Kinki University.
After working for a major food company, he started a bio startup in Napa, California in 2002.
He then began full-scale activities at the Nagahama Bio Incubation Center in Shiga Prefecture.
After many ups and downs, he is now a member of the DAIZ Board of Directors.
In April 2019, he was appointed as Advanced Pharmaceutical Sciences at the School of Pharmacy at Kumamoto University.
He enjoys talking about his dreams as a scientist over beer and yakitori.