The Impact Centre is announcing a new collaborative project with Star Chefs to understand the microbiome and the natural fermentation process in lentil batters that affect their shelf-life. 

Star Chefs is a Toronto-based company that manufactures fermented lentil batters that are a quick, easy, and affordable protein source essential to South Indian cuisine. The company is interested in understanding the microbiome of their fermented batters and identifying preservatives that can be incorporated to stabilize the natural fermentation process and extend the product’s shelf-life.

To accomplish this goal, the project will draw on the microbiology expertise of U of T’s Prof. Naomi Matsuura as well as Impact Centre in-house scientists. The team will develop a model of batter microbiome aging that can be used to develop an inexpensive and accurate assay of batter freshness. Also, the project team will help Star Chefs identify the bacterial profile and other factors such as water quality and temperature that can affect the natural fermentation process. This understanding will help Star Chefs improve their batter manufacturing process, stability of their product, and shelf life.

“Dosa, a thin, vegan, fermented lentil crêpe, is one of the most delicious parts of south Indian cuisine and is a rich source of protein,” says Ram Ramapathy, president of Star Chef. “Star Chef is excited to work Prof. Matsuura and the Impact Centre to seek scientific insight into the microbiome and the fermentation process of a recipe that is several centuries old. This will help us enhance food safety, design better packaging, improve the shelf-life, and make Dosa readily accessible to more Canadian consumers”

“The Impact Centre is excited to work with Ram Ramapathy and Star Chef on their product development,” said Venkat Venkataramanan, director of scientific operations at the Impact Centre. “Combining our in-house expertise with the deep technical talent within U of T allows us to provide unique value to our partners.”

The Impact Centre works with a wide range of companies to apply and incorporate new technologies into their products. Learn more about how the Impact Centre can accelerate your product development.