DuPont develops fermented stabiliser for plant-based drinks: ‘We are duplicating what nature does itself’

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

©GettyImages/triocean
©GettyImages/triocean

Related tags: Ingredient, Dairy alternatives, Protein, Dupont

The ingredients manufacturer has launched a stabiliser made from fermented bio-based raw materials that caters to the surging plant-based trend, DuPont tells FoodNavigator.

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences has added a naturally sourced stabiliser, the Grindsted Gellan Veg 200, to its ingredients portfolio.

Gellan gum is increasingly used in vegan and plant-based beverage formulation. According to DuPont, its version responds to growing demand in the alternative dairy and protein space. “There is a huge trend, in millennials and other demographics, towards plant-based products,” ​communications manager Richard Donovan told FoodNavigator. “Gellan is just one of those, and is really plugging into that trend.”

Indeed, the number of new vegan products on the market has increased by 35% since 2014, said DuPont, with six out of 10 US consumers reportedly increasing their consumption of plant-based foods.

Bacterial fermentation

Grindsted Gellan Veg 200 is produced by bacteria during the fermentation of bio-based raw materials. The bacteria itself is called Sphingomonas elodea, which is found in nature. “The word ‘elodea’ refers to the specific species of pond weed that it was first discovered on,” ​DuPont’s technical fellow, Graham Sworn, told this publication. 

In nature, gellan gum acts as a form of ‘self protectant’. “Basically, we take that property and run it in an industrial fermentation process, much the same as the bacteria do in nature,” ​Sworn continued.

The bio-based materials used in the fermentation process include sustainable sources of nitrogen and carbon. The latter can be made up of sugar, starch, or glucose syrup, the company’s global locust bean gum (LBG) & biopolymers manager, Jean-Baptiste Dufeu, said. 

“The beauty of the fermentation process is that it is a very natural process,” ​Dufeu continued. “We are duplicating what nature is does itself. It is just a natural process that we adapt to our production line.”

Grindsted Gellan Veg 200 joins a number of fermented stabilisers already on the market, including xanthan gum, which Sworn explained “is produced with another type of microorganism, but in a very similar fermentation process”.  

Functionality 

Grindsted Gellan Veg 200 can be applied to a wide range of plant-sourced raw materials to make dairy alternatives, such as traditional oat milks and almond milks. The gum can also be used in newer multi-protein plant-based beverages.

“It has a very unique functionality in being able to stabilise proteins without negative interactions [between them],” ​said Sworn. The gum also functions in low concentrations, he continued, offering “a stable product, a clean mouthfeel, and very low viscosity compared to other types of stabilisers”.

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