The ingredient, dubbed Yeastock HG, is the result of a patented production method that heats the yeast cell to a high temperature, which deactivates the yeast and ruptures the cell wall. Because production is not based on autolysis or hydrolysis, which break down proteins, there are no protein breakdown products in the final extract.
“The levels of unwanted amino acids are extremely low – only aspartic acid, alanine and proline, thus “good” amino acids, are present in noticeable quantities next to the glutamic acid – and so are peptides,” the company says.
It says the extract is particularly useful for enhancing tomato flavours, because the components of its amino acid profile – glutamic acid and aspartic acid – are present in a similar ratio as in a ripe tomato. Therefore it can boost tomato flavour in formulations containing tomato paste, pulp or powder, potentially cutting costs associated with tomato ingredients.
The firm has also found that the extract can enhance the flavour of butter and cheese, which could lower manufacturer dependence on dairy ingredients, which are often subject to price fluctuations, while also cutting fat content in finished products.
The ingredient may also increase taste reception of capsaicin, the component of chillies that causes them to taste hot and spicy. Use of Yeastock HG may mean that companies can reduce the amount of chilli, pepper or horseradish needed to achieve a desired level of spiciness.
Other potential applications include enhanced flavour in reduced salt bakery, and boosting the taste of certain herbs and spices, including basil and nutmeg.
Yeastock is a joint venture between Japanese companies Mitsui and Asahi and is based on Asahi’s patented production process.