How is yeast extract made?


From a living microorganism to a natural premium food ingredient

Yeast extract is commonly used in food formulation for its numerous organoleptic properties. It provides the essential flavor notes to bring body and depth to a recipe or can be a specific note by itself. It improves taste and nutritional profile of foods. Besides, it is a natural origin ingredient, since it comes from yeast.

Yeast is a microscopic fungus that has been living on Earth for millions of years. It is comprised of molecules such as proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals all “gathered” in a cell wall. Basically, yeast extract is only a yeast without its cell wall. This is why it is a natural origin ingredient. Its production consists of 3 main steps: fermentation, autolysis and separation.


The fermentation

First of all, a specific yeast strain is selected according to the customer’s final expected use. The yeast population has to grow with a sugar source, a monitored temperature and oxygen supply, this is the fermentation step. These regulated conditions and elements lead to an efficient growth of the yeast population.  The result of fermentation is a juice called “yeast cream”, ready to be autolyzed.

The autolysis

The suffix -lysis means “cut” in Greek while prefix auto- means “own”. Indeed, autolysis induces a solubilisation of the yeast cell content. This one is made by the enzymes naturally present in the yeast cell, without any chemical addition.

To do so, and after a cooling step to stop the multiplication of yeast population, the yeast cream is held at a temperature of 45-55 degrees Celsius. During this thermal process, the inner yeast enzymes1 break down proteins and other macromolecules initially present inside cell walls into smaller molecules. This autolysis allows the selection of tasty components:

    • Protein portions: peptides, free-amino acids2 such as glutamic acids
    • Nucleic acid: Ribonucleic Acid (RNA), Oligonucleotides, nucleotides (IMP-GMP)
    • Polysaccharides: sugars, mannans and glucans

It is necessary to monitor the lysis to obtain the “right” tasty components in the correct ratio. Each parameter of the autolysis (temperature, and also pH) is crucial and influences the final tasting properties of yeast extract.

The separation

The tasty components are separated from the cell walls of the yeast thru centrifugation and washing actions.  From this moment, yeast becomes yeast extract and conserves the largest part of the initial yeast nutrients.

The solution is then concentrated through a gentle evaporation (60°C). At the end of this step, nothing remains except liquid yeast extract.

Regarding customer’s needs, Biospringer has developed advance technologies to offer different forms3 of yeast extract by preserving all organoleptic properties and qualities of yeast extract: liquids, pastes, fine or micro-granulated powders.

yeast extract process

Biospringer’s expertise at the service of taste

Because of our strong know-how in strain selection, fermentation and autolysis, Biospringer’s portfolio can offer a range of tastes, from vegetable to meat… in order to bring taste and pleasure to the final consumers.

Biospringer is committed to innovation by using a cutting-edge technology. Biospringer provides products and services that ensure a healthier and more balanced diet and draws on its industrial know-how to reduce its environmental footprint.

1 Enzymes: small proteins originating from living cells, capable of catalyse or activation of organic reaction.

2 Amino acid: unit of a protein chain.

3 depending on trade area

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