Agreement allows Frito-Lay to use DSM enzyme

by Jeff Gelski
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HEERLEN, THE NETHERLANDS — An agreement on intellectual property rights gives Heerlen-based DSM the right to produce the PreventAse enzyme, designed to reduce acrylamide levels, and become a worldwide licensee for Frito-Lay and Procter & Gamble application rights in food products. DSM Food Specialties, part of DSM’s Nutrition cluster, has the right to sublicense these rights to its clients, including food manufacturers.

Swedish National Food authorities in 2002 discovered high levels of acrylamide in starch-based foods processed or cooked at high temperatures. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified acrylamide as "probably carcinogenic to humans."

PreventAse is derived from the microorganism Aspergillus niger. The enzyme converts the amino acid asparagine, a precursor of acrylamide, into aspartate, another naturally occurring amino acid. Thus, asparagine is not available for the chemical reaction that forms acrylamide when carbohydrate-containing foods such as bread, cake, cookies, potato chips and cereals are heated.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March said it had no questions on DSM’s conclusion through scientific tests that A. niger asparagine enzyme preparation is Generally Recognized As Safe for use in reducing asparagine levels in L-asparagine and carbohydrate-containing foods that are heated above 120 degrees Celsius (248 degrees Fahrenheit). The foods include bread, other cereal-based products, potato-based products such as french fries and potato chips, and reaction flavors.

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