MINNEAPOLIS and REINACH, SWITZERLAND – A patent application has published for a process to produce sweeteners, including the steviol glycoside Rebaudioside M, via fermentation, Evolva Holding SA reported Aug. 15. Reb M makes up less than 1% of the stevia leaf. Through their development project, Switzerland-based Evolva Holding and Minneapolis-based Cargill have used fermentation to produce Reb M with a desired sweetness at a scale and cost that is not feasible through extracting Reb M from the stevia leaf, according to the two companies.

“This breakthrough will allow consumers all over the world to enjoy products using Reb M at a commercially viable price,” said Neil Goldsmith, chief executive officer of Evolva.

David Henstrom, vice-president of health ingredients for Cargill, said, “We are pleased about the prospects of being able to deliver zero-calorie, great-tasting sweeteners. At a time when obesity rates continue to rise globally, we are working with food and beverage manufacturers to allow them to formulate a vast array of reduced sugar products with Reb M, which is one of the best tasting steviol glycoside sweeteners.”

Evolva filed the patent (WO 2014122227) on Feb. 6, 2013. In March 2013 Evolva and Cargill announced the development project to produce fermentation-based steviol glycosides.