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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
In late June, ingredients giant DSM announced it is preparing to add fermentation-derived stevia to its platform.
In late June, ingredients giant DSM (Parsippany, NJ) announced it is preparing to add fermentation-derived stevia to its platform. The company said it recently applied for related patents, calling fermentation as a “sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective process to meet market growth.”
“DSM has filed a significant number of patent applications relating to fermentation-based production of steviol glycosides last year to secure its unique technology and significant investments,” said Greg Kesel, regional president Americas of DSM Food Specialties, in a press release. “As a next step, we will be piloting our technology in 2014 by making food-grade samples available to our customers.”
Fermentation, which creates glycosides that are “nature identical” to the glycosides obtained in traditional stevia leaf extraction, offers numerous, attractive benefits. More-sustainable production is one, in that fermentation cuts leaf, land, and water usage involved in traditional stevia leaf harvesting and extraction. In addition, suppliers can use fermentation to create only the target glycosides required, without necessitating leaf wastage because some obscure steviol glycosides are present in minute quantities in each leaf, requiring a higher number of leaves overall to yield target extract quantities.
DSM joins a handful of companies looking to microbial fermentation for stevia’s future. Other companies working to bring fermented stevia to market are project partners Cargill (Minneapolis) and Evolva (Reinach, Switzerland), as well as Stevia First (Yuba City, CA). Based on recent reports, these companies are moving closer to commercialization.
In late June, Stevia First announced it finished going through a preliminary GRAS assessment with GRAS Associates LLC for its fermented/enzymatically derived Reb A glycoside. In a press release, the firm said, “Additional data is required from Stevia First in order to obtain a formal GRAS approval, but the overall report concluded that a favorable GRAS determination could likely be achieved provided that Stevia First is able to provide additional data related to shelf life stability, final product specifications, certificates of analysis for multiple production lots, and other customary analytical reports, and pending final review of the application and FDA guidelines by its panel of experts.”
Without detailing specifics, in May Evolva and Cargill reported that their joint project to bring “fermentation-based minor steviol glycosides” to market reached another “technical milestone.” “The milestone is an enabling step in bringing additional great tasting stevia-based sweeteners to market in a cost-effective and sustainable way for food and beverage manufacturers,” the companies said in a press release. David Henstrom, global business director for Health Ingredients, Cargill, commented, “We are encouraged by this project’s trajectory. We look forward to offering cost-effective, great tasting, minor steviol glycosides in the market in the near future.”
Nutritional Outlook magazine