What are Autolysed Yeasts? Its Function in Food Ingredient, Health Effects, FDA Approval

What are Yeasts?

Yeasts are microscopic fungi- single-cell organisms which are generally about 5-10 microns in size. They are abundant throughout the environment i.e. water, soil, plants, air, etc.

What is Autolysed yeast?

“Autolysed Yeast is concentrated, not extracted, partially soluble digest obtained from food-grade yeasts. Solubilisation is accomplished by enzyme hydrolysis or autolysis of yeast cells. Autolysed Yeast contains both soluble and insoluble components derived from the whole yeast cell”

Autolyzed yeast extract is a substance that results when yeast is broken down into its constituent components. The cell wall gets disrupted as the yeast’s enzymes break down proteins, releasing amino acids, salts and carbohydrates.

The soluble portions are separated from the insoluble components and referred to as autolyzed yeast extract.It naturally contains free glutamic acid, or monosodium glutamate, and is often used as a less expensive substitute for MSG.

Other names: Yeast Autolysate, Yeast extract

Biological Name: Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Production of Autolysed Yeast

It is a natural process; means there is no need of chemicals. Yeast extract is produced using variety of methods such as those based on autolysis and hydrolysis methods.

Commercially, autolyzed yeast is produced when sodium chloride is added into a suspension of yeast yielding a hypertonic solution which promotes autolysis. Autolysis is the act of self-digestion of the yeast cells by the cells’ own enzymes.

Mild heat is applied on edible yeast, causing the cell walls to lose integrity but maintain the integrity of enzymes. Through autolysis, the enzymes break apart the proteins into constituent amino acids, as free amino acids.

Next, the cell wall and other insoluble components are removed, followed by concentration and pasteurization of what remains. The final product is either stored in liquid or paste form or may be spray dried to a powder.

History & Origin of Autolysed Yeast

Yeast have been used for wide variety of applications since thousands of years ago such as fermentation, baking and bioremediation  as well as broad range of research activities in biological sciences owing to their unique genetics and physiology.

Uses and Functions of Autolysed Yeast

  • Flavour enhancer in soup, meats.
  • It contributes its own flavour to food.
  • Used as a flavouring agent in snacks, cereals.
  • It is also an ingredient in some pet foods.
  • It is used in fermentation of breads and bread products.
  • It is used in the fermentation of wine.
  • It is used as nourishing agents in shampoo, conditioners and other cosmetics.

Advantages of Autolysed yeast & Health Benefits

  • Autolysed yeast is rich in protein & Vitamin B.
  • People with malabsorption, can take their vitamin diet properly from it.
  • It is increases the yield of organisms in fermentation broths.
  • It improves the microbial activity.
  • It is 100% animal free.

Disadvantages of Autolysed Yeast

  • Sodium content is very high and can alter the sodium level in human body.
  • Can elevate blood pressure.

Side Effects of Autolysed Yeast

  • Flushing of skin.
  • Mild headache.

FDA approval on Autolysed Yeast

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require products that contain MSG to state this on the label. Foods that contain yeast extract don’t need to specify that they contain MSG. However, they can’t claim to contain “No MSG.”

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