German biotechnology firm c-LEcta has partnered with an ingredient company to develop a new method of expanding the production of a new plant-based sweetener.

The plant-based origin and safety of these sweeteners, along with their sugar-like taste, make them suitable for large-scale use in low and zero calorie beverages and food products.

c-LEcta collaborated with a leading ingredient supplier to develop the new process, which is based on the enzymatic treatment of the precursors of these sweeteners.

The new enzymatic treatment converts the precursors into a better tasting sweetener.

"The enzyme technology, made in Germany, has been incorporated at commercial scale and has the potential to enable our partner to decisively change the world market for natural sweeteners."

The plant-based sweeteners are said to be safe and suitable for diabetics, while their cultivation process is more sustainable than other products due to the smaller amount of resources required.

c-LEcta CEO Dr Marc Struhalla said: “Our highly effective enzyme process helps provide the food and beverage industry with a greater supply of great-tasting, plant-based sweeteners.

“That increased supply helps enable the production of zero-calorie soft drinks sweetened 100% with plant-based sweeteners.

“The enzyme technology, made in Germany, has been incorporated at commercial scale and has the potential to enable our partner to decisively change the world market for natural sweeteners.”

The sweetener produced via this new process is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), which signifies that it is permitted for use by food and beverage companies in the US.

Struhalla further added: “We have already expanded our enzyme production capacities and are confident that together with our partner we will be able to provide the required quantities for large-scale use of the sweetener in the food and beverage industry.

“The commercialisation harbours the potential to prospectively take our sales to a new level and expands our existing product portfolio.”

c-LEcta is primarily engaged in the development of a wide range of biotechnology products for use in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

The company also offers its expertise to these industries as a contract manufacturer.