Givaudan has submitted a patent application for a fermentation process in which green ripe uncured vanilla beans are incubated with Bacillus subtilis in isolated form to convert glucovanillin to vanillin while consistently forming a fully developed well-balanced vanilla aroma without off-notes.
The application listed the inventors as Eva Christina Maria Binggeli and Thomas Muench. According to the filing, the applicant discovered that "incubation with the bacterium B. subtilis can be used to ensure a good vanillin yield and provide a consistently high quality well-balanced complex vanilla flavor profile without off-notes in the resulting vanilla beans and their extracts."
"This fermentation process produces vanilla flavor compounds, wherein green ripe uncured vanilla beans are incubated with B. subtilis from a stock culture or with pre-cultured B. subtilis. The use of B. subtilis in a process to produce vanillin from glucovanillin and to convert other precursor vanilla flavor compounds bound to glucose to the relevant non-glucose-bound vanilla flavor compound (including, without limitation, vanillic acid, p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, and p-hydroxynbenzoic acid) as described herein produces a comparable or higher yield than traditional processes but with a more consistent fully developed complex sensory profile and without off-notes," according to the filing.
"Off-notes often present in traditional processes, without wishing to be bound by theory, appear to be caused at least in part by various bacteria and fungi that are present on or in the vanilla beans," the filing indicated. It noted the "addition of B. subtilis reduces or avoids these off-notes and the effect can be even more improved by reducing the microorganism count prior to the addition of B. subtilis."