Stevia from fermentation will be available next year, says Evolva

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

The project is intended to scale up availabilty of stevia compounds that are present at less than 1% in stevia leaves
The project is intended to scale up availabilty of stevia compounds that are present at less than 1% in stevia leaves

Related tags: Steviol glycosides, Stevia

Stevia sweeteners derived from fermentation – without stevia plants – could be launched as early as 2016, according to Evolva Holding SA, the Swiss firm working on the technology with agri-giant Cargill.

The two companies have been working together since March 2013​ on fermentation technologies to produce steviol glycosides, the compounds that give stevia leaves their sweet taste. They filed a patent​ for the technology in February 2013, and claimed that it could allow large-scale production of better tasting, lower cost steviol glycosides, such as rebaudioside D and rebaudioside M, that are not currently commercially viable because of their low concentration in the stevia leaf.

The project has been consistently ahead of schedule, with a pilot programme up and running by late 2013, although it was initially forecast for 2014.

“We expect that stevia will be launched in 2016,”​ Evolva said in its latest financial and project update on Monday.

The company also said it would make a decision in the first half of this year about whether to exercise its right to a 45% stake in the final business. If it decides not to take this option, it instead would receive royalties on global sales of the steviol glycosides, in the region of mid-single to low-double digit percentages.

Evolva has used yeast-based fermentation to produce other ingredients, including vanillin, and its recent acquisition of San Diego-based Allylix​ brought fermentation-derived nootkatone (an aroma compound found in grapefruit also used as a natural insect repellent) and the orange flavour and fragrance valencene into its portfolio.

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