Patent sought for non-GMO acrylamide-reducing baker's yeast

Thursday, 16 July, 2015

Canadian company Renaissance BioScience Corp has filed a provisional application in the US for the patent of its non-GMO acrylamide-reducing (AR) baker’s yeast. The application protects the company’s work in developing baker’s yeast strains (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) that naturally reduce acrylamide by up to 95% in a variety of food products, by degrading the precursor compound asparagine.

Acrylamide is a World Health Organisation Group IIA carcinogen that has been shown to be mutagenic and neurotoxic in a variety of laboratory animal studies. Acrylamide is not added to foods, but forms naturally from the amino acid asparagine when foods are heated above 120°C, such as in baking, roasting or frying.

In 2002, acrylamide was identified in a range of common foods including bread, toast, potato chips, fries, cereals and coffee. Worldwide, food regulatory and health agencies such as the European Food Safety Association (EFSA), the US FDA and Health Canada have conducted risk assessments on the continuing widespread presence of acrylamide in such foods.

“Our AR yeast is an important step towards solving the global health concerns posed by dietary acrylamide,” said Renaissance Ingredients President Dr Matthew Dahabieh. “Our testing, both in-house and with commercial partners, demonstrates that AR yeast reduces acrylamide by up to 95% in a variety of foods.”

Renaissance Ingredients’ AR yeast strains are traditional baker’s yeast with an accelerated natural ability to consume asparagine, thereby reducing acrylamide. In baked goods where yeast has always been used as an ingredient, AR yeast can replace conventional baker’s yeast with no disruption to the baking process. AR yeast can also be used in foods in which yeast is not normally an ingredient.

Renaissance Ingredients says it has conducted numerous successful studies on the feasibility of using AR yeast in foods containing yeast extract, chemically leavened foods or foods exposed to soaking steps during processing. These foods include potato-based products such as potato chips and French fries, savoury snack foods, cereal products and coffee.

“We are now looking to demonstrate this efficacy in pilot-scale trials by working closely with interested industry partners,” added Dahabieh.

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