Novel flavours and health benefits from yeasts – NIZO partner in CORNUCOPIA
Posted: 30 March 2011 | NIZO Food Research | No comments yet
In a 4 year EU consortium, NIZO food research will screen and identify yeast species with novel industrial traits…
In a 4 year EU consortium, NIZO food research will screen and identify yeast species with novel industrial traits...
In a 4 year EU consortium, NIZO food research will screen and identify yeast species with novel industrial traits. The consortium aims at developing food products for the food industry such as alcoholic beverages and cheeses, both in terms of new flavours and health promoting properties.
CORNUCOPIA is a multidisciplinary EU project, involving eleven science and industry-based teams, and coordinated by Prof. Piskur of Lund University, that explores the natural diversity and potential of yeasts. The € 3.4 million project started in February and will run for 4 years. Other experts include Prof. Thevelein of KU Leuven and Dr. Boekhout from the world famous yeast culture collection CBS in Utrecht. Fermentation expert Dr. Lucie Hazelwood is responsible for the activities at NIZO food research.
NIZO’s unique role is to screen all selected yeast species on formation of novel aroma compounds and investigate their potential for probiotic effects. Based on extensive data available at the CBS, the species to be screened will be selected based on their known physiology and their isolation sources. In a second phase of this project, the most promising species will be screened on a strain level to further assess the diversity in industrial traits.
Yeast is an important ingredient in the production of various food products such as wine, beer, cheese and sausage. Until now, only the baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been extensively studied because of its importance for bread, beer, wine making and also for the production of pharmaceutical drugs such as insulin. However, in nature, there is a vast potential available in more than 1500 species that have still to be studied.
In industry, there is a growing interest in exploiting the diversity of yeast species. Different yeasts can give a different character to drinks and foods. “Wine and beer producing companies are looking for solutions for low alcohol products” says Lucie Hazelwood of NIZO. “New yeast species may lead to lower alcohol yields while maintaining positive (novel) aromas. The outcomes of this project may also lead to new cheese products in which yeasts play a role”. Based on many years of experience with probiotic bacteria, NIZO will test the selected yeasts for probiotic properties. “Yeasts are already known to have probiotic effects, either directly or through their metabolites. A first screening will focus on survival under gut conditions.” ”The potential of this highly variable group or organisms hold new solutions for foods which we will develop together with our clients,” concludes Hazelwood.