Acrylamide is a suspected carcinogen that is formed during by heat-induced reaction between sugar and an amino acid called asparagine. Known as the Maillard reaction, this process is responsible for the brown colour and tasty flavour of baked, fried and toasted foods.
The competition between DSM and Novozymes over asparaginase enzymes to tackle the problem without affecting the taste of baked and fried foods has been hot. Both firms launched their solutions for use by the food industry in 2007, after having licensed the application rights from Frito Lay and Proctor and Gamble.
DSM's Preventase and Novozyme's Acrylaway are said to work in the same way: they convert asparagine into another amino acid called aspartic acid, thus preventing it from being converted into acrylamide. The effect is a reduction in acrylamide in the final product by as much as 90 per cent.
While Preventase is derived from Aspergillus niger, Acrylaway comes from a different strain, Aspergillus oryzae.
DSM has now developed its Preventase offering into three sub-brands - Panna, Bicra and Xtru - which are intended for use in different kinds of products.
Panna is said to be intended for use in wheat-based products like bread, biscuits and crackers; Bicra is for "subcategories of biscuits", according to the company.
Xtru, meanwhile, targets acrylamide reduction in extruded snacks.
Judith Heikoop, new business development manager for Preventase, said: "Further work on a variety of other food applications such as fries and potato-based snacks have led to the development of a portfolio of Preventase solutions that is tailored to the needs of our customers, their food products and their production processes."
Both DSM and Novozymes have been working hard on obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals in key markets around the world.
While they both have the US and Europe under their belts, as well as various other countries, Novozymes this week has claimed a march on its competitor after having obtained approval from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ). This has allowed it to go ahead with its planned
"Registration of Acrylaway in Australia and New Zealand was formally obtained on July 10 2008 with the publication in the gazettal," said Novozymes' regional marketing manager for Asia Pacific, Wolfgang Eger.
"Novozymes is now the first and only company to offer an asparaginase enzyme for sale in Australia and New Zealand."
The approval comes as no great surprise, however, since Acrylaway had already been recommended for addition to the positive list of approved processing aids, following a safety evaluation.
A spokesperson for Novozymes told FoodNavigator.com that the next countries for which Novozymes is expecting approvals this year are Brazil, China, and Russia.