Microorganism which reduces the amount of acrylamide in a thermally treated food

The invention refers to a new yeast strain that can be used in the processing of transformed foods to reduce acrylamide (following cooking/frying).

Title of the patent Yeast strain which reduces the amount of acrylamide in a thermally treated food
Thematic area Agro-food
Ownership Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, Consiglio per la Ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’Economia Agraria (CREA)
Inventors Alessandra Di Francesco, Marta Mari, Luisa Ugolini
Protection International
Licensing status Available for licensing agreements
Keywords yeast, asparagine, acrylamide, food processing
Filed on Sep 20, 2017

Acrylamide is a chemical naturally formed by some sugars and an amino acid (in particular the asparagine) which is contained in many foods, in particular french fries (chips and sticks). Discovered for the first time in 2002, in 2007 EFSA has produced an initial assessment of the risks derived by acrylamide in food concluding that it may increase the risk of developing cancer in consumers, whatever the age groups, thus establishing limits. Despite numerous research aimed at understanding the pathways of formation it has not yet been possible to find effective guidelines to minimize the development of this compound in foods. As of now, the different types of treatment used may affect the final characteristics of the product such as aroma, color, texture etc as well as being very expensive. The invention intends to overcome this problem in order to strengthen the potato processing industry.

The invention refers to a new yeast strain, which can reduces the acrylamide level generated by heat treatment of foods. The innovative invention aims to limit the use of chemicals to remove asparagine, but at the same time does not alter the quality of the product, reducing the levels of contamination from acrylamide in some food preparations.

The invention has the potential to reduce costs because it can replace the current treatment methods which require greater investments. In addition, laboratory tests highlight great benefits in terms of effectiveness.