The yeast specialist, which is an ABF Ingredients company, launched the flavour enhancer in the early 2000s.
Since then it has been amassing more data about its benefits. At its new plant in Wisconsin, USA, opened in 2007, it has optimised the process to increase the level of free glutamic acid, the amino acid responsible for the umami savoury taste.
Mary Jo Poeschel, applications technology manager at Ohly Americas, said the new level is “a pretty good improvement”. (The precise level has not been disclosed at this time, but will be included on product information sheets supplied by the company directly). It also has high levels of nucleotiodes 5’IMP+GMP, which have a synergistic affect with the glutamic acid, making the flavour and umami impact last longer.
The main use of Provesta 512 is to enhance products’ flavour instead of monosodium glutamate (MSG). “A lot of people look to take out MSG,” she said. The trend towards natural foods means consumers are wary of artificial additives and ingredients that have been linked to health effects – whether or not the concerns are strongly substantiated by science.
In comparison with MSG, Poeschel said Provesta 512 is “a cleaner ingredient, as it is labelled only as a yeast extract”.
It is suitable for use in a wide range of savoury products including sauces, gravy and meat applications, to give an umami note. Less than 10 per cent of the MSG that would have been used is required.
Poeschel added that it also enhances sweetness at a very low level, about “a hundredth of a per cent”.
Provesta 512 is produced by fermenting the torula yeast with a natural media source, followed by extraction using enzymatic technology. Production takes place in the US, but it is being sold internationally.
Ohly has its headquarters in Germany. Ohly Americas was incorporated in summer 2007, when the US operations merged with another of ABF Ingredients' subsidiaries Provesta.
This manoeuvre was rationalised by similarities between the two companies' product lines, and was said to provide "an enhanced focus on production, development and distribution of specialty ingredients for the savoury food and nutrition markets."