Stevia Processing Pilot Plant Delivers Promising Results
In partnership with Wageningen University we have developed and patented (WO2015057061A1) a unique biorefining extraction process to extract Steviol Glycosides from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant. The mild biological extraction process opens up the plant cells releasing the plants Steviol Glycosides. The extract is filtered, and suspended solids are precipitated using an alkaline salt. The result is a semi-clear yellow extract (see picture), containing approximately 2-3 g/l Steviol Glycosides and Rebaudiosides. The target end product is a no-calorie natural sweetener product.
This month (October) we completed the final pilot scale tests to confirm the capabilities and process parameters on a larger scale. The key benefits of our process are:
- A self initiated extraction process using a mixture of an organic acid and bioculture from stevia itself. No need to add any other extraction agents such as alcohols.
- The extraction process operates at room temperature, resulting in lower energy consumption/greater energy efficiency.
- Extract contains little to no off-taste.
- Extraction can occur from both fresh and dried plant material.
- Commercial scale processing of other plant material is already in operation.
To optimise the extraction results the following is required:
- Use of traceable stevia feedstock.
- Stevia supply from plant breeds optimised for high yield and high selectivity towards Rebaudioside.
Together with Wageningen University we have also looked at the next stage of the process, the purification and concentration of our raw stevia extract rich in Steviol Glycosides and Rebaudiosides. As we have little experience in this field, with our primary focuses being on the primary extraction stage, we are looking for a partner with experience in purifying and concentrating stevia extract. The result should be a purified and concentrated food grade product.
What we Need?
This extract needs to be concentrated and purified to meet the specs from food producers, usually targeting 95 to 98% purity as dry powder.
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