The food lipids specialist, which is based in Hamburg, Germany, has tested the performance of sunflower lecithin against the IP soy version, which is used as an emulsifier, at its pilot bakery.
“In a comparison of the influence of soy and sunflower lecithins, overall testing clearly shows that both provide the same results,” said Janine Binder, applications technologist at Sternchemie, which is part of Stern-Wywiol Gruppe.
A key factor was the very similar composition of fatty acids, with sunflower lecithin having slightly more of the nutritionally beneficial unsaturated oleic and linoleic fatty acids, said the company.
Sunflower was also equivalent to IP soy in phospholipids, it added. In addition, it has a similar phosphatidychlorine content to soy, with slightly higher amounts of phosphatidylinositol (PI). This was an advantage for the baking industry, since PI has higher baking activity, said Sternchemie.
However, compared to soy lecithin, raw lecithin from sunflower oil had higher proportions of substances that affect quality, which varies greatly depending on production method, the firm said. It was therefore important to standardise processing.
“We process the lecithin to a higher degree than usual in conventional standardisation,” said Michael Heidland, manager for Sternchemie’s Lecithin business unit. “For example, we also remove the small amounts of processing residue left over from oil extraction. With our long experience in lecithin production, we can process raw material of almost any quality.”
The company’s products ranged from standard LeciStar S 100 liquid sunflower lecithin to its SternFlow lecithin powder. It has also just launched SternPur S P, a de-oiled sunflower lecithin powder, with a 95% effective ingredient content.
“Late in 2012 we will start large-scale commercial production at our new pure lecithin plant in Singapore,” said Heidland. “We already offer pilot quantities of de-oiled sunflower lecithin for industrial testing.”