DSM develops enzyme to ease juice filtration
and berry juice processors that improves the results of the
filtration process and complements the existing Rapidase range.
The Dutch chemical group already offers two enzymes for the juice processing industry under its Rapidase line: Rapidase Smart to aid maceration; and Rapidase Smart Clear for clarification. The new addition, called Rapidase Optiflux, which the company says was developed in response to demand from fruit processors for an ingredient to improve the flux rate during filtration, and reduces blocking of the filtration equipment. Derived from the aspergillus niger fungus, Rapidase Optiflux is said to work by decreasing the molecular weight of polysaccharides from the fruit cell wall with a high molecular weight, and reduce their binding with proteins and polyphenols. A technical expert from the company was not available to give a full explanation of how the enzyme works prior to publication, but said that it "breaks down the residual colloid that is still present in the juice". As well as speeding up juice production, the new enzyme can also help streamline the process by extending the time needed between cleaning of equipment. DSM said that the three enzymes are intended to be used in synergy. It claims to be in a "unique position of being able to meet all the needs of the apple processing industry." According to Isabelle van Rolleghem, DSM's industry manager for fruit processing and wine ingredients, the company has made "significant investments" in developing the enzyme. The company would not disclose the level of these investments in financial terms, but it is understood to have been working on this new enzyme for three to four years. Researchers began the sequencing of the fungus began in 2000 and, according to the company, this project has accelerated the development of new products and improved production processes. Other DSM products derived from the fungus include Brewers Clarex, an enzyme for preventing chill-haze in beers, PreventASe, an enzyme for preventing the formation of the toxic compound acrylamide during baking or frying of certain foodstuffs, and PeptoPro, an ingredient for muscular recovery after physical exertion. It said to have resulted in a high-quality genome sequence of 33.9 million base pairs with more than 14,000 unique genes. And the (possible) functions of around 6500 of these genes were established. DSM published the genome in the journal Nature Biology this year (Published online: 28 January 2007; doi:10.1038/nbt1282). "Further research on Aspergillus niger could help identify other possible uses of this micro-organism (such as in the sustainable use of raw materials). With the functions of some 7500 genes still unknown, scientific researchers have plenty of challenges to deal with in the future," said Hein Stam who coordinated the publication of the genome.