Brewing up a secure yeast economy with recycled phosphorous
Since time immemorial humankind has relied on the fermentation powers of yeast. Yet for all its inconspicuousness, yeast is on the cusp of a novel recycled phosphorus application thanks to collaboration between EasyMining, and Versuchsanstalt der Hefeindustrie e.V – Research Institute for Baker’s Yeast (VH Berlin).
Few reflect much on yeast as a product, apart from disappointment over a dough failing to rise. Yet our foodstuffs such as bread, wine, and beer or our ethanol fuel all rely on yeast’s fermentation ability, converting carbohydrates – sugars and starches – into carbon dioxide (CO2) and ethanol.
VH Berlin, a global association of yeast technologists
Instead, it’s people at Germany’s VH Berlin, like Dr Michael Quantz, General Manager and Dr Erik Pollmann, Applied Scientist, that have dedicated entire scientific careers to yeast. Founded in 1924 as a technical association “to promote science and education in yeast technology”, VH Berlin is a global authority when it comes to yeast science. Its founding was at a time characterized by a major structural change from small-scale to industrial yeast production.
– Yeast is a low-margin product and few producers could afford own R&D facilities back then. That is the background to the formation of the technical association which still holds true today, explained Dr Erik Pollmann.
Industrial yeast production (or perhaps more correctly “propagation”) has grown ever since. So too has VH Berlin’s membership and remit into a global institution complete with own yeast mini plant and accredited research laboratory. Members are found all around the world and span the entire yeast value-chain – from yeast producers, molasses and process material suppliers, technology and equipment suppliers as well as consultants and other research institutions.
– As an accredited lab, we provide a whole range of analytical services both for regulatory and research purposes, for example yeast performance or input raw material screening. With our yeast mini plant, we also perform contract research for individual companies, participate in multi-client or publicly co-funded research projects, said Dr Erik Pollmann.