Following JECFA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) approval, the Codex Alimentarius (Codex) has adopted the processes of bioconversion and fermentation used for the production of Reb M into its guidelines. This addition enables PureCircle by Ingredion to sell Reb M and a range of proprietary blends from its bioconversion process as well as Reb M from fermentation (also referred to as Fermented Sugarcane Reb M), in addition to the existing stevia sweetener and taste modifier portfolio offered across South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
Most stevia varieties contain minor quantities of naturally occurring Reb M, which makes it difficult to sustainably scale the ingredient. PureCircle’s advancements in agronomy science and expansive stevia experience, has enabled the company to better maximize the output of each stevia leaf. With increasing demand for Reb M and other novel steviol glycosides, PureCircle has also invested in new production technologies, including bioconversion and fermentation, with the aim of delivering more cost-effective sustainable solutions to manufacturers. PureCircle is the only stevia supplier able to offer all three Reb M technologies and sources to scale, either alone or in combination with the rest of their proprietary portfolio of sweeteners and flavour modifiers.
The company’s bioconversion process mirrors the plant’s natural ingredient production process. PureCircle has a portfolio of non-GMO stevia leaf ingredients, produced through bioconversion, and which are clean tasting, have a sugar-like sweetness but with none of the calories.
Through its 2021 joint venture with Amyris, Ingredion has exclusive access to Amyris’s Reb M produced via fermentation. Fermented sugarcane Reb M is made through a patented fermenting process, which converts sugarcane into a high purity, no calorie sweetener. The result is a simple, sweet taste that has no bitter aftertaste. Fermentation is a low-input, low-waste manufacturing process and the ‘vinasse’ from fermentation is recycled as a fertilizer for the sugarcane fields.
Sue Bancroft, PureCircle EMEA, commented: “With three technologies, extract, bio- conversion and fermentation, available to produce Reb M, PureCircle’s range of plantbased, stevia leaf sweeteners and flavour modifiers is the most comprehensive range available. The technologies enable us to scale up these processes and offer sustainable sourcing and favourable cost in use according to customer, sweetening targets, application needs and budgets. PureCircle has long supported food and beverage formulators across the region, committed to formulating a complete and balanced sugar reduction solution that consumers love. Having the three options now available in large parts of Africa and the Middle East, will enable more manu- facturers in the region to develop cost effective, naturally sourced reduced- sugar solutions.”