This year, the theme of our project is "Creative Tasting Officer", and the plan is to build a biosensor with Saccharomyces cerevisiae as the chassis cell to detect the ratio of umami and sweet and some bitter substances in food to quantify the taste of food.
The project is to provide the world's food companies with a biological testing methods that is more cheaper than sensory evaluators and more efficient and universal than electronic tongues, thus helping food companies to develop more creative products.
By understanding Chinese cuisine, we have created a Flavor Card web page where we can choose different foods. Users can select their favorite food and choose the corresponding favorite value to get a "taste report" about themselves, which can help users better understand their own needs for taste.
Collecting data on the taste of Chinese food from people around the world will also help us better understand people's taste preferences and contribute to the promotion of Chinese food.
In terms of Creative Food Seasonings, we use soybean protein isolate as the substrate, and use different enzymes for enzymatic digestion, thus obtaining different peptides. Different combinations of peptides can produce different flavors, and by using this feature, we can achieve "customized" for each customer's umami flavor.Our Creative Food Seasonings are also rich in all essential human amino acids, as well as milk-like nutrition.
Creative Food seasonings, not only meets the user's demand for umami taste, but also provides customers with an opportunity to explore their own taste, helps them better understand what their favorite flavor is, and probably expands their knowledge of taste.
In addition to the taste satisfaction, we hope that this project can solve the taste needs of each type of people, to meet the young people's lack of taste due to busy work and no time to cook, to meet the vegetarians in their lives have not felt, but eager to try the taste ...... at the same time to contribute to the promotion and protection of Chinese cuisine.
To achieve our goal, we have designed and built a biosensor system-Tasting Officer, including a human-derived taste receptor heterologous expression system and a detection system to translate taste into specific fluorescence intensity for "numerical" quantification of taste.
We have obtained several suitable peptides by hydrolyzing soy protein, and at the same time, we have built a Flavor Card webpage to discover customer needs, and look forward to commercialization in the future.
Considering the starting point of our project, the initial target audience of our seasoning was vegetarians who were limited by their taste experience, focusing on their taste limitations in life and meeting their needs. However, as we talked with them and the framework of the project became clearer, We define the project in the entire consumer market and carry out our seasoning design for all consumers.
This idea is based on the fact that today's spice market is too homogeneous, and the taste of spices is very similar.Sometimes the taste of the carefully selected spices is not exactly the same as one imagines, or even very different, and the experience of food is greatly reduced. With the Flavor Card webpage we developed, users can not only get the most suitable seasoning information, but also enjoy the taste experience and get more fun at the time.
This idea was not an empty one. We released a questionnaire about the existing flavor survey in the market in the early stage to get consumers' opinions about the current seasonings to help us make better adjustments to our experimental program. We found that as the market changes, the demand for seasonings continues to grow and the demand for umami flavors in seasonings is also increasing.
Younger people are increasingly looking for compounded seasonings to enrich the flavors in their lives. Therefore, we are sure that our Creative Food Seasonings have a very bright market prospect, and during our communication with Beijing Liu Bi Ju Food Co., Ltd, we found that our Creative Food Seasonings can be added to the existing products of food companies as auxiliary ingredients to create a brand effect of exclusive flavors for the companies, and at the same time, Creative Food Seasonings can also contribute to the protection of the taste of our traditional cuisine.
In the follow-up social practice, we communicated with COFCO, and in the feedback we received, they suggested that the taste detection officer-biosensor built in our project can detect the taste of food, which is very helpful for food enterprises and has a great application prospect. At present, food companies mainly rely on manual sensory evaluation for taste detection, with electronic tongues as an auxiliary evaluation.
The disadvantage of manual sensory evaluation is that the cost is too high and the subjectivity of the evaluator has an impact on the sensory evaluation. The electronic tongue can only detect the content of the substance, but not the taste, such as that it can detect the sugar level, but can not detect the degree of sweetness.
The bio-detection approach can achieve the purpose of quantifying the taste with low cost perfectly solves the above problems.And quantifying the taste is very important for food companies, making the taste clearer through numerical quantification. Companies can use it to develop more innovative goods and improve market competitiveness.
Of course, food companies care about cost, efficiency and stability. If our taste inspector can provide cheap, fast detection and high stability results, it will be a beneficial help for food companies.
Usage of our device
For the taste detection department of a food company, we plan to deliver our biosensor for taste detection in the form of a kit consisting of three solutions (three inducers: estradiol, vanillin, copper sulfate solution) and a packaged lyophilized bag of modified Saccharomyces cerevisiae(strain named CEN.PK2-1C), as well as a comparison card of the fluorescence values corresponding to the taste intensity and a safety instructions.
The yeast is made to express different receptor genes by adding different inducers to become different flavor Tasting Officers. All the testing department needs to provide is the sample they want to test and a microplate reader.After obtaining the fluorescence values, they can compare them with the card to obtain the desired flavor evaluation.
As for the customer who wants to have Creative Food Seasonings. We will first understand his flavor requirements through our Flavor Card website and also provide him with exclusive colors. We will then send the powder to the customer after we have prepared the umami seasoning according to the customer's preference, and the color of the seasoning bottle sticker will be exclusive to the customer. We will also get feedback from the customer after he tries it and work hard to serve his needs better.
One of our current products has been successfully applied to Beijing Liu Bi Ju Food Co., Ltd products "Mushroom Beef Sauce" and "Old Beijing Fried Sauce".
The product adopts 1.5 tons of enzyme hydrolysis tank, colloid mill, homogenizer, and filling machine for production. The plant area is 500 square meters and the annual output can reach 1,000 tons/year.
We are working hard to create Beijing Liu Bi Ju Food Co., Ltd "exclusive corporate flavor", and at the same time, we can add seasonings to the existing products of other companies to make the company more competitive and meet customer needs.
Beijing Innochem Technology Co., Ltd. was also attracted by the application prospects of our project. According to the communication with us, we signed a cooperation agreement and Beijing Yinuokai Technology Co., Ltd. gave us sponsorship for the further development of the project.
The soy protein isolate and enzymes used in the process of conducting soy protein enzymatic experiments are certified as safe by the state, and the whole process is free of organisms, which can ensure that they are harmless to humans. Thus, we can prove that the powdered seasoning customized for consumers is safe and harmless.
We also provide safety instructions to the testing department personnel of food companies who operate the kits and show them how to do it correctly before purchase, thus avoiding the risks associated with incorrect operation.
Also, the Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the kit is an engineered laboratory bacterium that will not survive outside of the culture medium, so it will not cause safety problems caused by the engineered bacterium.