Stevia First Corp. Initiates Study for Novel Approach to Markedly Increase Leaf and Glycoside Yields
Jul 16, 2013
Company Seeks to Verify Manipulating Photoperiodism as a Revolutionary Practice for Stevia Cultivation
SACRAMENTO, CA--Stevia First Corp. (
Stevia First Corp. has begun studies to verify results that academic researchers produced under laboratory conditions and that describe dramatic gains in leaf biomass and steviol glycoside content. The researchers report that brief overnight illumination of stevia with red LED light can simulate long-day growth and prevent flowering, driving increases in leaf mass and steviol glycoside content. These results include a doubling of steviol glycosides within several weeks and extrapolate to a full year production increase offering more than a 5-fold gain in steviol glycosides. Stevia First scientists aim to verify these exceptional results and work towards developing feasible technologies that facilitate field-scale deployment of photoperiod-interrupting technology.
Stevia First Corp. is currently using California stevia leaf for several R&D projects. The leaf is being used as feedstock for novel fermentation processes, in order to validate modern stevia extraction and purification methods, and to obtain new plant genomic information. Fermentation-based stevia production methods may bypass or greatly diminish the need for stevia leaf production, which by some estimates accounts for 70% or more of the total costs of traditional stevia extract production. Through deployment of the Company's fermentation and agricultural technologies, Stevia First aims to create a sustainable domestic supply of great-tasting stevia products that is not dependent on overseas stevia plantations.
"The results where intermittent light has been used to spur dramatic gains in steviol glycoside content is a challenge too enticing to ignore," said Robert Brooke, CEO of Stevia First. "It is quite novel, and could represent a 'disruptive innovation' to our industry and other agricultural systems, so we're excited to take these steps towards verification and commercial translation."
About Stevia First Corp. (
Stevia First Corp. is seeking to establish a vertically-integrated enterprise in the U.S. that uses technological expertise in fermentation-based stevia production and improves upon traditional stevia farming and processing methods. Stevia First's U.S. operations are located in the heart of California's Central Valley, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions. For more information visit: www.steviafirst.com.
About the Stevia Industry
The market for all-natural, zero-calorie stevia sweeteners is expanding rapidly. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates stevia intake could eventually replace 20-30% of all dietary sweeteners. The total global sweetener market was estimated at $58.3 billion in 2010. For more information visit: www.steviafirst.com.
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