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Evolva and Cargill publish patent application for ‘next generation’ fermented sweeteners

Cargill and Evolva have published their patent application relating to the production of sweeteners including Reb M through fermentation.
Cargill and Evolva have published their patent application relating to the production of sweeteners including Reb M through fermentation.

A new patent application that covers the efficient and sustainable production of sweeteners including Rebaudioside M (Reb M) using fermentation technology has been published by Evolva and Cargill.

Cargill and Evolva Holding SA have been working on a joint development program to develop and produce minor steviol glycosides - the compounds responsible for the sweet taste in the stevia leaf – via fermentation technologies since March last year .

Since then the two firms have been working together to develop the new technology and set up a timetable for the scale-up and eventual production of steviol glycosides produced by fermentation. Indeed, the companies announced that their program was moving into pilot-scale ahead of schedule in late 2013, and news of further a further ‘technical milestone’ was released in early 2014.

Now Evolva and Cargill have set out their application for a patent on a process to ‘efficiently and sustainably produce next-generation sweeteners via fermentation’. The patent application (WO2014122227 ) was originally filed in February 2013.

Fermentation process to improve flavour

The ability to produce a Reb M sweetener via fermentation opens up the potential to significantly improve the flavour profile of such zero-calorie sweeteners, especially at higher usage levels, said Evolva and Cargill in a press release.

The firms noted that the best tasting and sweetest parts of the stevia leaf - such as Reb M - make up less than 1% of the leaf. By producing Reb M using fermentation, the companies are able to produce the desired sweetness at a scale and cost that is not feasible through extraction of Reb M from the stevia leaf.

This breakthrough will allow consumers all over the world to enjoy products using Reb M at a commercially viable price,” said Neil Goldsmith, CEO of Evolva. “This patent application forms part of our ever-expanding IP portfolio on steviol glycosides, which we are confident is the most extensive, and the most commercially significant in this space.”

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