Acrylamide- and H2S-preventing yeasts

Thursday, 13 September, 2012

Canadian bioindustrial company Functional Technologies has developed several proprietary yeast-based technology platforms that enable a yeast strain’s natural and innate functions to prevent the formation of common contaminants.

These platforms are claimed to improve the performance of innate yeast functions and prevent the formation of naturally occurring toxins and contaminants that either affect final product quality or are classified by the World Health Organization as probable human carcinogens.

The company’s commercial products include a suite of wine yeasts that prevent the formation of hydrogen sulphide (H2S). This colourless volatile gas is a natural by-product of wine fermentation and it causes a distinctive, unpleasant noxious odour in wine, beer and other yeast-fermented beverages. It is one of the most commonly occurring sensory defects in winemaking worldwide and is a widespread and costly quality control problem in commercial wine production.

Through its subsidiary, Phyterra Yeast Inc, Functional Technologies’ H2S-preventing wine yeasts were launched in the commercial wine yeast market in 2010, with introductory sales occurring in more than 75 commercial wineries in the US.

At a pre-commercial stage, Functional Technologies is developing a yeast-based platform that prevents the formation of acrylamide in carbohydrate-rich foods. Acrylamide is a World Health Organization Group 2A carcinogen that is generated naturally as a by-product of frying, baking or toasting carbohydrate-rich processed foods such as bread and baked goods, potato chips, French fries, cookies and baby food. First emerging as a public health concern as a widespread food contaminant in 2002, acrylamide mitigation is a major objective of food safety organisations worldwide.

Functional Technologies’ proprietary yeast-based acrylamide solution enhances the natural ability of yeasts to degrade asparagine, the main precursor substance of acrylamide. The company has obtained FDA acceptance of GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status for its acrylamide-preventing yeast strains. It is now working with industry partners to develop commercial applications for the acrylamide-preventing yeasts in a variety of food sectors.

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