During the last 10-15 years, biotechnological processes have established themselves in the flavor industry for the production of natural flavor materials. The food laws of many countries recognize the fact that natural flavors and flavor materials can be obtained via biotechnology (Figure 1). However, certain conditions have to be met in order to guarantee the naturalness of the final product, These conditions stipulate that the raw materials used have to be natural, and that only physical processes we permitted for the isolation and purification of the materials so formed. Typical examples of such physical processes are extraction, distillation and crystalization.
Biotechnology has been used unwittingly by man to produce foods for thousands of years (Figure 2). The original benefit of this way of food preparation was the considerable increase in the shelf life of such products. The reason this traditional way of food preparation is still being performed is because of the positive flavor changes brought about by the enzymes and microorganisms used.
It is possible to obtain on a production scale both complex flavor mixtures and individual flavor components, via microbial fermentation and enzyme technology. Many different classes of flavor materials can be obtained this way including acids, esters, Iactones, alcohols, aldehydes and ketones.