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Tracing yeast back to its origins

01 December 2016
With the help of modern genetic analysis techniques, a Belgian research team has proved that the many thousands of strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae – the most commonly used cultured yeast in modern-day food and beverages production – can be traced back to five subgroups that were domesticated as early as the 16th century. This means that the food ingredient yeast extract, which itself has a 100-year-old tradition, is directly linked to the beginnings of yeast cultivation.
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Yeast extract ≠ glutamate

01 December 2016
Analysis of glutamate content of packet soups. In media reports, the food ingredient yeast extract is often merely reduced to the amino acid glutamate, which is a natural protein building block contained in yeast. However, scientific analysis shows that yeast extract not only contains glutamate, but micronutrients and the entire spectrum of protein building blocks as well. Together, these constituents account for the inherent spicy taste of yeast extract. The glutamate content of yeast extract is generally around five per cent. This is low compared with other commonplace foodstuffs.
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Do European consumers read the ingredients lists on food packaging?

01 December 2016
The market research company Nielsen has polled consumers in 61 countries worldwide about their food shopping habits. The results reveal that in Germany only one in three consumers is interested in knowing what ingredients are contained in foodstuffs. By contrast, consumers in other European countries are more wary.
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Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in yeast extract

23 June 2016
Vitamin B12 is an important part of any diet. It is involved in a number of metabolic processes such as the breakdown of certain fatty acids, assists in the formation of blood cells by transferring folic acid in its active form, and plays a vital role in cell division and the nervous system’s functions. This vitamin is usually found bound to proteins in foods of animal origin, such as meat, fish, eggs and milk. Unlike glutamic acid, vitamin B12 cannot be produced by the human body itself and must be supplied by food. The regular intake of this essential vitamin is particularly important; however, this is rather difficult when following a vegan diet. While vegetarians may exclude meat and animal by-products from their diet, they can still meet their vitamin B12 requirements by consuming milk, eggs and dairy products. Vegans, on the other hand, do not eat any food of animal origin, and must therefore rely on other food sources.
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Glutamic acid in foodstuffs and within the human body

23 June 2016
Naturally occurring glutamic acid has a savoury and “rich” taste. It is often present in foods that are rich in proteins, which are therefore rich in amino acids. Ripe tomatoes, meat, Parmesan cheese and legumes contain a lot of glutamic acid, as well as popular condiments such as soy sauce, tomato ketchup and yeast extract. Yeast extract is a popular spread in the UK and Australia, and food producers also use it to add a savoury taste to their products and dishes. Despite its savoury taste of its own, which is comparable to meat broth, yeast extract is a purely vegetarian ingredient which is also suitable for vegan diets.
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