BRAIN and Roquette coop
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21 January 2021

Sweetener for the future

BRAIN and Roquette have signed a contractual agreement for the approval and production of the sweet protein brazzein. The sweetener could be brought to market within the next three to four years.

If it hadn't been for the coronavirus: at BRAIN in Zwingenberg, the champagne corks would certainly have been popping at the end of the year 2020, to celebrate the conclusion of a contractual agreement with the French company Roquette, global leader in the field of plant-based ingredients for food markets, among others.

Both companies, who first came together during the DOLCE research program, subsequently decided to jointly bring to the market the protein sweetener brazzein.

In nature the African plant Pentadiplandra brazzeana produces the protein in its berries. Sourcing the ingredient by extraction would not be sustainable. Therefore, BRAIN and Roquette produce the protein sweetener by fermentation. This provides a more sustainable solution while being cost-efficient.

Protein with good properties

What is so special about the sweetener brazzein, which has been known for a long time? It has exceptional sweetening potential and combines a good flavor profile with the benefits of being sugar-free. Since this is not a matter of course with sweeteners, the partners see very good commercial opportunities for this compound, primarily in the beverage industry.

In preparation for the upcoming production phase, BRAIN has already established a highly potent GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) microorganism for the biotechnological production of the protein sweetener. GRAS strains are well suited for obtaining approval for the food and beverage sector, and BRAIN has already produced the sweetener at laboratory scale with commercially viable yields.

Adriaan Moelker, CEO BRAIN AG, commented upon publication of the agreement: “We are very pleased with the positive feedback from Roquette and various consumer goods manufacturers. The sweetener, which we are now jointly approving and producing, was developed especially for the beverage industry, which today utilizes approximately 70% of the sugar consumed worldwide in its products. This illustrates the sales potential that this novel sweetener offers. In the fast growing sweetener market, where taste profile and nutrition have to be enhanced in parallel, we expect our new product to strongly meet the increasing consumer demand.”

Dr. Sergio Neves, Head of Nutrition & Health, R&D at Roquette emphasized: “Having completed the DOLCE R&D program, we are now looking to upscale production, and expect to bring the protein sweetener to the market within the next three to four years. Several top food & beverage companies have already shown great interest and aim to support us in this project.”


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