VANCOUVER, B.C. — Renaissance BioScience Corp. and its subsidiary Renaissance Ingredients Inc. have filed a provisional application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a patent on its non-bioengineered/non-G.M.O., acrylamide-reducing baker’s yeast. Renaissance BioScience has developed baker’s yeast strains (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) that naturally reduce acrylamide by up to 95% in a variety of food products by degrading the precursor compound asparagine.
Acrylamide has caused cancer in animals in studies where animals were exposed to acrylamide at “very high” doses, according to the Food and Drug Administration. A risk assessment by the joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization expert committee on food additives (JECFA) indicated a human health concern for cancer with acrylamide.
Acrylamide forms naturally from the amino acid asparagine when food items are heated above 120 degrees Celsius (428 degrees Fahrenheit), according to Renaissance BioScience. Food items may reach such temperature through baking, roasting or frying. Acrylamide has been identified in such food items as bread, toast, potato chips, fries, cereal and coffee.
“Our AR (acrylamide-reducing) yeast is an important step toward solving the global health concerns posed by dietary acrylamide,” said Matthew Dahabieh, Ph.D., president of Renaissance Ingredients. “Our testing, both in-house and with commercial partners, demonstrates that AR yeast reduces acrylamide by up to 95% in a variety of foods.”
The yeast may replace conventional baker’s yeast with no disruption to the baking process, according to Renaissance BioScience. It also may be used in food containing yeast extract, chemically leavened food or food exposed to soaking steps during processing.
“Our in-house studies highlight the versatility and efficacy of our AR yeast in reducing acrylamide not only in baked goods and toast, but also in potato products, snack foods, cereal products and coffee,” Dr. Dahabieh said. “We are now looking to demonstrate this efficacy in pilot-scale trials by working closely with interested industry partners.”Vancouver-based Renaissance BioScience is a privately held applied life sciences company that develops yeast-based platform technologies. Renaissance Ingredients is responsible for commercializing acrylamide-reducing yeast for the global food manufacturing industry.