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Diseño y desarrollo de nuevos edulcorantes de alta intensidad basados en proteínas


Oferta Tecnológica
Una start-up italiana especializada en diseño y fabricación de edulcorantes de alta intensidad (EAI) basados en proteínas ofrece un nuevo edulcorante que se utiliza como sustituto del azúcar en la dieta de diabéticos y personas con obesidad. Los investigadores de la empresa han optimizado el proceso de producción de proteínas en pequeños biorreactores, haciendo que sea totalmente biocompatible y aumentando la velocidad y productividad considerablemente. La empresa busca cooperación técnica para probar la seguridad del producto, optimizar la formulación para su uso en alimentos y bebidas y escalar el proceso de producción de proteínas.


Design and development of new protein-based high-intensity sweetners.
A South-Italy start-up active in the design and production of protein-based High-Intensity Sweeteners (HIS), proposes an innovative protein-based sweetener usable as sugar substitutes, especially suitable in the diet of diabetic and obese people. The company is looking for a technical cooperation agreement in order to test the safety of the product, optimize formulation for use in food and beverage, and to scale-up the protein production process.
The Italian start-up has a solid scientific experience in the design, production and characterization of structure relations and properties of proteins, documented with hundreds of scientific publications.
More than the 10% of the global population is affected by obesity or diabetes and has to reduce the consumption of sugars (source World Health Organization). Therefore, there is a growing attention towards the consumption of low calories products, which opens interesting scenarios for the production of innovative High-Intensity Sweeteners.
The proposed product derive from the natural sweet protein Monellin, extracted from the tropical plant Dioscoreophyllum cumminsii. However, it is not extract from the original protein, but by using a high-efficiency biotechnological approach to produce sweeter and more stable derivatives.
The innovation of this approach consists in the idea that, with the same production pipeline, it will be able to produce always-improved protein variants.
Monellin in fact loses sweetness when heated above 50°C, when the two-peptide chains forming its structure dissociate. Joining separate peptide chains with the insertion of a dipeptide linker it is possible to obtain a product as sweet as native monellin, with enhanced thermal stability.
On this basis, multidisciplinary combined research approach allowed the development in the laboratory of new protein variants showing higher sweetness, as proven by taste assays performed by a panel of experts. Some of the results obtained have been already reported in scientific communications and publications, whereas a patent proposal is ready for a new variant just obtained and characterized by the R-Y-D team.
The company is looking for universities or research organization, industry with R-Y-D sector able to test the safety of the product into food and beverage preparation, to sign a technical cooperation agreement.
The international cooperation envisaged with the partner sought would help the team to investigate and test the proposed technology, and possibly lay the groundwork for future research collaborations.
Advantages and Innovations:
Artificial sweeteners have the advantage of giving sweet taste without adding much energetic value, but it has emerged that many products present severe inconveniences, from the after taste of natural sweeteners to the side effects of artificial ones.
These new proteins indeed, with increased sweetness but also better properties, in terms of thermal, physical and chemical resistance, are able to elicit a strong sweet taste if correctly folded; therefore, the stability of their shape in a wide range of environmental condition is an important requisite to guarantee a real industrial application.
Researchers of the company optimized the process of protein production in small bioreactors, making it fully biocompatible and increasing significantly the speed and the yield.
A new and very cheap culture medium is currently being used and there is a possibility of recycling by-products of the food industry as raw materials for protein production.
A strong scientific background of the team, acquired over decades of study and research activities, is the know-how that allows to constantly improve the properties of proteins, making them sweeter.
This is relevant not only from the point of view of calorie intake, which is already quite insignificant given the very low amount of sweetener needed (less than 10 mg per liter of drink), but it is greatly beneficial to help lower the cost of the sweetener compared to that of the final product.
Stage of Development:
Under development/lab tested
Secret Know-how

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
Type of partner sought:
-academy or research organization, industry with R-Y-D sector, companies;

Specific area of activity of the partner:
-toxicology analysis, production of beverage, production of sweeteners;

Task to be performed by the partner sought:
- test the safety of the product;
- test the product into food and beverage preparation.


Type and Size of Client:
Industry SME <= 10
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
08001002 Aditivos / ingredientes alimentarios / alimentos funcionales
06002001 Bioquímica / biofísica
06002004 Ingeniería de proteínas
08002002 Microbiología / toxicología / control de calidad de alimentos