spacer.gif Newsletter 03
December 2014

Welcome to PLEASURE

The PLEASURE project comes as a response to the need of finding solutions to overcome malnutrition caused by high consumption of fat (saturated and trans-fatty acids), salt (sodium) and sugar (mono- and disaccharides).

The use of replacers to reduce the salt (NaCl), sugar (sucrose, glucose, and fructose) and fat (saturated and trans-fatty acids) content has been very attractive for the food industry as it is an approach which requires only low cost in terms investments (no equipment needed) and ingredients. However, most of the approaches felt due to lack of consumer acceptance due to a different taste perception of the products. The PLEASURE project will be the first project addressing this challenge from the processing side.

work progress

WP5 - Sugar, salt and fat reduced fruit & vegetable preparations for the use in RTE meals

Requirements for sugar reduction processes
From the beginning of the project, the focus had been put on the development of biotechnological processes, leading to natural products with 100% fruit content but a sugar reduction of almost 30%.
A further challenge was the development of processes that are not dependent on the use of sugar replacing additives.

To solve this challenge, a new innovative platform technology for sugar reduction in fruit and vegetable products like purees and juices was successfully developed at the HSWT.

Enzymatic process
One part of the platform technology consists of an enzymatic sugar reduction approach. This process was developed and optimized using apple puree during the project. Process time and volume could be successfully optimized and for strawberry puree a 45% reduction of the sugar present in fruits had been achieved.

Therefore the aim of a 30% reduction in total sugar was successfully achieved without significant changes in other fruit ingredients. The process is applicable for juices and purees and it is easy and economical to implement in existing productions. It is currently patent pending.

Fermentative process
The second column of the platform technology consists of an additionally developed fermentative process.  To establish this process microorganisms have successfully been screened and identified for their ability to convert the sugars present in fruits and vegetables to the low caloric natural sweetener erythritol.

With the selected strain the process has been developed and optimized regarding the relevant process parameters at lab scale and later an upscale was performed.
The results show successful production of erythritol with simultaneous degradation of sugar. Further, the process was adapted to different fruits and vegetable matrixes.

By using this process, which is currently patent pending, it is now possible to remove up to 100% of the whole sugar present in fruits and vegetable preparations.

Future use of technology:
All in all, the new platform technology for sugar reduction developed within the Pleasure project provides a great opportunity to replace high caloric fruit purees and thus contribute to healthier convenience and bakery products in the future.


CommNet awarded projects who have demonstrated excellence in the communication of EU-funded research aimed at building the knowledge-based bio-economy, in the fields of food, agriculture and forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, and biotechnology.

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Anna Knäulein is working as scientific assistant on WP5 of the PLEASURE Project at the Institute of Food Technology of the University of Applied Science Weihenstephan-Triesdorf (Germany). She graduated as M.Sc. in Nutrition at the Technical University of Munich in the field of cell culture model systems. Since July 2013 she has been working  in the PLEASURE-project with focus on the development of the enzymatic and the fermentative sugar reduction processes. Additionally, she is now member of the 3D food printing team of the HSWT with responsibility for research in a current EU-project .

Dr. Helga Gruber is project manager at the Institute of Food Technology of University of Applied Science Weihenstephan-Triesdorf (Germany). She graduated at the Regensburg University with a Diploma in Biology in the field of cell communication in culture systems and continued with an additional degree as an Engineer (Univ.) in Environmental Sciences at the Technical University of Dresden. Here she expanded her scientific background and contributed to a multitude of studies regarding biomass flow and conversion at the level of forest ecosystems. Working at the Bavarian State Research Center for Agriculture she developed innovative immunological screening methods for wheat baking quality parameters in close collaboration with German plant breeding companies.

In 2011 she completed her PhD in Biology with analytical work and a deep insight on the fate of macromolecules from genetically modified maize in agricultural ecosystems and feeding regimes. She further applied her analytical knowledge about the tracing of GM macromolecules in food and feed at the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority. After this she moved to the field of food technology and implemented her knowledge on microbiological metabolism into the biotechnological process development for the sugar reduction part in WP5 of the PLEASURE project. The current research interests of Dr. Gruber are innovative applications in the growing field of 3D Food Printing with actual work in a running EU-research project.

Focus on fat

Reasons for sugar reduction:
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and secondary plant products and therefore they represent an essential part of a healthy diet. Therefore different forms of fruit and vegetable products are increasing in popularity within the general public in the last years. However, fruits contain high levels of sugar (up to 15%) which may contribute to a positive energy balance, especially if fruit and vegetable purees that are frequently consumed as part of ready to eat meals. Due to excessive energy intake, overweight is increasing in the last years. An additional issue is the impact of continuous consumption of high sugar containing purees and juices by children which may lead to dental problems like caries [1].

About half of the total energy consumed in the average U.S. diet is from carbohydrate. The most common carbohydrates are sugar and starch. About one third of our total consumption of carbohydrates is sugar (sucrose). Based on extensive studies on the roles of fat in human nutrition, health professionals recommend a reduction in total fat intake. With less fat in the diet, an increase in carbohydrate is recommended to balance energy needs. This increase is for more complex carbohydrates (starch and fiber) rather than sugar. These recommendations are stated in the Dietary Guidelines published in 1990 by U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.

The scientists from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) concluded that, “Other than the contribution made to dental caries, there is no clear evidence in the available information on sucrose that demonstrates a hazard to the public when used at the levels that are now current and in the manner now practiced. The statement on sugar made in the Dietary Guidelines follows:

“This guideline cautions about eating sugars in large amounts and about frequent snacks of foods containing sugars and starches. Both sugars and starches which break down into sugars - can contribute to tooth decay.”

“...The more often these foods - even small amounts are eaten and the longer they are in the mouth before teeth are brushed, the greater the risk for tooth decay. Thus, eating such foods as frequent between-meal snacks may be more harmful to teeth than having them at meals.”

“...Diets high in sugars have not been shown to cause diabetes. The most common type of diabetes occurs in overweight adults, and avoiding sugars alone will not correct overweight” [2].

There is evidence of moderate quality showing that caries is lower when free-sugars intake is <10% Energy. With the <5% Energy cut-off, a significant relationship was observed, but the evidence was judged to be of very low quality. The findings are relevant to minimizing caries risk throughout the life course [3].

Labeling of the sugar reduced products:
According to the current legislation (EC Regulation No  1924/2006 [4]) on criterion for the labeling of products with the claims like reduced in sugar, energy-reduced or lite is that the sugar content of the product is at least reduced by 30%. 

Considering this, the technological sugar reduction approach of the Pleasure project supports healthier products for the future and aids in reducing the sugar intake and the health problems related to excessive sugar consumption.

[2] Georgia C. Lauritzen, “Reduced Sugar and Sugar-free Food Preservation”, UtahStateUniversity Cooperative Extension, FN 209, 1992, pp.1-2
[3] P.J. Moynihan1, S.A.M. Kelly, “Effect on Caries of Restricting Sugars Intake Systematic Review to Inform WHO Guidelines”, Journal of Dental Research, vol. 93 no. 1, January 2014, pp. 8-18



Mr. Matthias Kueck
PLEASURE Coordinator
Fischkai 1
D-27572 Bremerhaven

Tel.: +49-(0)471-929285-11
Fax: +49-(0)471-929285-19

Bianca Pop
PLEASURE Dissemination Manager
Cosminului Str.8
400642 Cluj-Napoca
Mobile.: +40 742 59 32 09
Fax: +40-364801458