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Consumers are pursuing healthy and natural food ingredients, but as natural resources become more and more scarce, it is bound to require technical means to achieve large-scale production, and it is impossible to rely on natural planting extraction.
And harvesting food ingredients from nature consumes more energy, water, land, and carbon emissions than producing them in a laboratory, causing harm to the environment. Now, there is a technology that produces ingredients that are as healthy as natural extracts, and this is fermentation.
Fermentation has become a new trend
The method of fermentation used to produce and preserve food has been around for thousands of years, and as consumers' concerns over technically processed food ingredients increase, manufacturers are trying to use this ancient processing method to find food ingredients New method.
Health-conscious consumers believe that fermented foods will increase beneficial bacteria in the intestinal flora and increase the health of the digestive and immune systems. Fermentation has also become a new food and beverage trend. However, although consumers know that fermentation can produce products such as wine, beer, cheese, thick broad-bean sauce and kombucha, few people know that it can create food ingredients. This process is different from traditional fermentation. Instead of inoculating the starting organism into the fermentation material, the producer inserts the target gene directly into the host organism (usually yeast) and then uses the fermentation medium to produce the target organism and by-product components. Producers can harvest ingredients from the fermentation and purify them for use.
Andy Ohmes, Global Director of Sweeteners, states: "Fermentation has been used in food and beverage preparation for thousands of years, but it is a relatively new method of production in terms of ingredients and additives." Fermentation-generating additives available today are still very Less, but as suppliers gradually master the relevant technology, the number has been increasing, and it is no longer used only for the production of acidifiers such as citric acid and sugar alcohols such as erythritol.
"Surprisingly, a large part of edible sugar is made from fermented beets, not sugar cane," said by Dr. Dillon Friday. Another common ingredient produced by fermentation is monosodium glutamate, and untagged sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate have been gradually replaced by "fermented glucose" (cultured dextrose, a naturally fermented preservative. "
The fermentation process will not only produce one or two biologically active molecules, but may also produce hundreds. Fermentation of natural ingredients such as rice or other proteins will naturally produce bitterness masking agents, flavor enhancers, cooling agents, sweetness enhancers, etc. . And the benefits of the process go beyond the ingredients themselves, because fermentation is a "sustainable solution" that requires minimal land, water, and energy, and waste sugar can be used as a fermentation medium.
The common sweetener erythritol is mainly produced by fermentation. Although some fruits and mushrooms produce a small amount of erythritol, it is not possible to extract it on a large scale to reduce costs. Fermentation to produce erythritol is not only the price reasonable, can produce high-quality products with the same specifications, and ensure the reliability of the supply chain, not affected by the quality of raw materials and supply fluctuations. Other sugar alcohols are mainly produced by hydrogenation. Relatively speaking, erythritol produced by fermentation is closer to the natural extraction and transformation process, which is also one of its advantages.
New product of fermentation production
So, which new additives are fermenting in the production process?
The famous artificial meat manufacturer “Impossible Foods” is using fermentation to produce vegetarian soy heme. This ingredient can make artificial meat red and make it more similar to real meat. Nitrogen-fixing plants (such as soybeans) naturally produce heme and store it in their roots. Although “Impossible Foods” can extract heme from such plants, the economic and environmental costs of doing so are too high, so they transplanted the heme-producing genes from soybeans into yeast cells and then fermented them to produce soy-heme.
Reb M and Reb D, which have the best sweetness in stevia, cannot be obtained in large quantities from the leaves. It is too expensive and inefficient to extract them by traditional methods. To commercialize these two substances on a large scale, some companies use a type of "baker's yeast" to produce the same Reb M and Reb D molecules as in stevia leaves. The market for high-intensity stevia sweeteners produced by fermentation is expected to exceed USD 3 billion by 2025.
Fermentation can also be used to produce vitamin K2. In the past, this fat-soluble vitamin was obtained mainly from foods such as cheese and Japanese natto (critical for bone and blood vessel health), but "the only way to produce this active ingredient naturally is through bacterial fermentation". This is a sustainable process with very little emissions and waste and can be labeled as clean.
Fermentation can also be used to reduce sugar. Fermented fruit and vegetable products, such as fermented beet juice, provide businesses with a clean-label alternative to sugar reduction without the need for flavorings in the final product.
"But fermentation is a very complex biological process. The technology for producing food ingredients in this way requires years of training and experience，Fermentation requires" impeccable control and hygiene measures to ensure that the required microorganisms are protected from harmful microorganisms. influences. Therefore, this may be a good opportunity for traditional beer and yeast producers who are skilled in using yeast technology to enter the field of raw material production.
In general, compared with chemical synthesis, fermentation can produce higher quality and high purity ingredients, and the fermentation process is also safe, controllable and traceable. It is believed that the original ingredients of fermentation products can be recognized by most consumers.
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