Researchers in United Kingdom have found a new method by which you can taste the natural flavor of the fruits without needing to open one.
Oxford Biotrans,a company based in UK have used certain chemicals of orange with molecules made by micro-organism to make it taste like grapefruit. Not only them many companies are using micro-organism to forge flavors and scent which are normally found in roses or other plants.
There is a high demand of natural labelled products in the market and the companies aim to fulfill that by taking the support of microbes. Companies are able to sell their products by saying that it uses all natural flavors.
Now the main question here is, will Biotechnology be able to meet this demand. And will those flavors be same as that of original fruit.
So what is this natural flavor anyways?
A natural flavor comes from fruit,yeast,bark, spice and other biological materials which can be extracted directly or can be extracted with the help of fermentation or heating process.
So how can you separate natural flavors with artificial ones?
They have similar chemical composition but they are not identical. Artificial flavors are more simple since they are only made from ingredients which are tested for safety. People are doubtful about using the artificial flavors, some tend to be very different from the natural ones.
Generally, the artificial version of a flavor will be less expensive. There are some cases where going the artificial route isn’t actually that much cheaper.
To make natural grapefruit flavor, the researchers first isolated a chemical known as valencene from oranges. They also use a kind of enzyme that living creatures use to spur chemical reactions inside their bodies that are found in bacteria, plants, and animals.
The team has made a few tweaks to its complex structure and engineered E. coli to make the improved version. When mixed with valencene, the enzymes prompt a chemical reaction that adds oxygen to the orange flavor to turn it into nootkatone.
Micro-organism and enzyme have more advantages over natural products as agricultural products can have drought,disease etc.
And sometimes, using biology to make flavors may be more efficient than the artificial route. But it depends upon how complicated the molecule you want to make.
Micro-organisms or enzymes will also give perfumers to have fine control over its fragrance. By using biotech processes they are able to make a unique blend which is better than chemical synthesis process.
So which method would one prefer? It depends on the perfume or flavor in question, and how will that be used. But whether you’re getting the compound from a microbe, fruit, or artificial sources, researchers may make it into something both safe and tasty.