At the Fi Europe 2001, held in London, November 5-7, the Dutch food ingredients company DSM Food Specialties will introduce a new application of its FirmFruit® enzyme system designed to enhance the appearance and consistency of processed tomato pieces in end-product applications. FirmFruit® is a natural pectin methylesterase (PME) enzyme that can be integrated into existing processes to improve the quality and appearance of processed tomato products without affecting the ingredients label. Annually, approximately 24 million tons of tomatoes are processed into a wide variety of tomato products including ready-meals and sauces. Tomatoes pieces are prone to damage and disintegration during processing and cooking. DSM's FirmFruit® is a pure fungal pectin methylesterase enzyme, which, when added to tomatoes prior to their incorporation in the final formulation, maintains the firmness and identity of tomato pieces through the process and improves the viscosity of sauces. FirmFruit® acts by de-methylating the pectin that naturally occurs in tomatoes to create a strong pectate network with the calcium already present. The gelling characteristics of the pectin are altered from High Methylated (HM) to Low Methylated (LM), improving the viscosity and consistency of tomato sauces and tomato pieces. As a result, tomato segments are firm, consistent in size and easy to identify, which could allow reduced tomato usage per kilo in certain preparations. The FirmFruit® concept is an application of Rapidase® FP Super technology from DSM that helps create firm, fresh fruit products e.g. fruit preparations, fruit yoghurts and fruit sauces.