Sweeteners made from yeast
Sugar is an important nutrient. Consumed in excess, however, it will trigger widespread diseases such as obesity or diabetes. Which is why new sweeteners are being developed as sugar substitutes. Today, food and drink is available that has been sweetened with an extract from the tropical plant Stevia rebaudia, which is virtually calorie-free. The sweetener known as stevia is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. In 2012, the European Commission approved stevia additives of the plant extract in Europe.
The sweetener derives its energy from a mixture of ten different substances called stevia glycosides. The composition may fluctuate in the vegetable production process; in addition to this is the complex transport of plant material. In order to be more sustainable, a biotechnological production of stevia sweeteners is currently being developed.
With the help of yeast cells, the individual components of the stevia sweetener can be produced in controlled conditions to single out the desired component. Depending on the application, the food industry offers ways to vary the taste of stevia and to find new uses for the sugar substitute.