The Danish aroma company, EvodiaBio, secured 6.4 million dollars in a recent capital raise. Their goal is to become a global industry leader in sustainable aroma production for the food and beverage industry.
EvodiaBio recently introduced a ground-breaking technology platform that uses precision fermentation to produce sustainable aromas for the food and beverage industry. Now, the ambitious company has secured 45 million Danish kroner in additional funding, equaling approximately USD 6.4 million.
EvodiaBio, founded just one-and-a-half-years ago, received 14 million kroner in financial support from the BioInnovation Institute, a Danish accelerator funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The remaining 31 million kroner stem from several international industry players, including the German flavour house Symrise that steps in as strategic investor, and Nordic Foodtech VC is lead investor.
Jarne Elleholm, co-founder and chairman of EvodiaBio, sees the capital raise as a crucial step in reaching the company’s soaring ambitions. “Our vision is to create a sustainable, global company within the development, production, and commercialisation of natural aromatic substances and this funding is our opportunity to realise this vision. The funding was made possible by a strong support from the BioInnovation Institute and by the great progress we have made during our only one-and-a-half-year lifetime”, says Jarne Elleholm.
Non-alcoholic beer is the first segment that EvodiaBio will address, says Jarne Elleholm, as getting the taste of the beer right has been a major challenge for the brewing industry. The company’s newly developed aroma blend, called Yops, can improve the taste of non-alcoholic beer, and serves as a sustainable alternative to cultivated aroma hops. In the long term, the bio-industrial company will develop aromas for other beverages, perfume, and a range of other segments.
EvodiaBio’s monoterpenoid aromas are produced using yeast cells that secrete the individual aroma components and are then combined to mimic the aroma profiles of different hops. The result is a natural, pure, and sustainable product. The technology has been developed after years of research by the scientific co-founders, Prof. Sotirios Kampranis, Dr. Simon Dusséaux and Dr. Victor Forman. EvodiaBio’s approach surpasses all other methods and enables, for the first time, a cost-effective and sustainable biotechnological production of the volatile aroma molecules from hops. Using EvodiaBio’s solution, the brewer avoids depleting limited plant resources, while water and CO2 emissions are reduced by more than 90 percent.
Next step in EvodiaBio’s far-reaching plans is the establishment of the company’s own offices, laboratories, and pilot-production in Denmark. They are now preparing for the launch of Yops in 2023, where they also expect an increase in staff.
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The new cold-tolerant hybrid strains developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland enable fermentation at lower and higher temperatures than before. Production at lower temperature reduces the risk of contamination and possibly allows reduction of the use of sulphates. Modulating temperatures can be used to fine-tune product aroma.
In 2015 VTT generated the first new lager brewing yeast strains in 500 years, and has now applied the knowledge obtained to create new yeast strains for the production of wine and cider. A key characteristic of these strains is that they can tolerate a wide range of temperatures from 10 to 37 °C. Importantly, the low temperature range reduces the risk of contamination during fermentation, possibly allowing for reduced sulphate use.
The tolerance to higher temperatures facilitates large-scale production in active dry yeast form. The wines and ciders produced with these strains are characterized by an increased aromatic complexity.
The ability of a yeast strain to ferment efficiently at low temperature is a desired feature in alcoholic fermentation. Cold fermentations have been used for centuries in the production of lager beer with the lager yeast Saccharomyces pastorianus. The ability of this species to ferment at low temperature is a result of it being a hybrid between an ale yeast and the cold-tolerant wild yeast Saccharomyces eubayanus.
Scientists at VTT have now demonstrated that this combination of parents can also be effectively used for wine and cider fermentations. A wine yeast strain was crossed with the cold-tolerant parent of the lager yeast and the hybrids were tested for cider and wine fermentation.
The results showed that due to the wider range of temperatures tolerated by these species the aromatic properties of the cider and wine can be modulated by varying the fermentation temperature. White wine and cider, for example, benefit from low-temperature fermentations, both for reduced risk of contamination but also for an improved aromatic profile. Undesirable flavours that are typical of the wild parent are eliminated after hybridization and large-scale production is facilitated.
This natural, non-GM approach can be used for tailor-made generation of new strains by careful selection of the parent strains with desirable features. After being successfully applied to beer, wine and cider production, this technique is now being assessed for its use in the baking industry, where yeast must survive for extended periods in frozen dough.
The following organizations have funded the research: EU’s Marie Curie ITN Yeastcell-project, Academy of Finland and Alfred Kordelin Foundation.
Magalhães F, Krogerus K, Vidgren V, Sandell M & Gibson B. (2017) Improved cider fermentation performance and quality with newly generated Saccharomyces cerevisiae × Saccharomyces eubayanus hybrids. Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10295-017-1947-7
Magalhães F, Krogerus K, Castillo S, Ortiz-Julien A, Dequin S & Gibson B. (2017) Exploring the potential of Saccharomyces eubayanus as a parent for new interspecies hybrid strains in winemaking. FEMS Yeast Research. DOI: 10.1093/femsyr/fox049