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British Food Journal Volume 49 Issue 8 1947

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 August 1947



In the good old days, before civilisation and artificial eating habits caught up with mankind, the majority of people in the world got all the Vitamin B and protein their bodies needed through micro‐organic foods. Before the discovery of tea and coffee as beverages, European man drank beer and ale, and the people of Africa, Asia and Australasia drank palm wines. These drinks were prepared by the use of micro‐organisms or fermentation, and supplied large quantities of high‐grade protein and Vitamin B, so essential for health and growth. With the discovery of food yeast and the proposed manufacture of this remarkable food in the British Colonies, the modern diet is going to be revolutionised. The manufacture of bakers' yeast is a simple process and has been known to man for hundreds of years. Into a certain weight of yeast is. introduced a solution of sugars, nitrogen and phosphates and this is allowed to multiply and grow until it has increased its weight fourfold. During this time air is pumped into the solution so the micro‐organisms can breathe, and at the end of nine hours the yeast in the vat is separated from the bulk of the used food solution, washed and pressed ready for use. Yeast has become in recent years increasingly popular as a food, and research workers, knowing the value of yeast in the diet to correct deficiencies, have not been idle in this field. For many years Dr. A. G. Thaysen, Ph.D., M.Sc., has been conducting experiments with yeast, and now, under the auspices of the Colonial Products Research Council, the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research is setting up a Micro‐biological Research Laboratory to carry out further experiments. As a result of visits to the West Indies by Sir R. Robinson and Professor Simonsen, it has been decided that this laboratory should be built in St. Clair, Port of Spain, where Dr. Thaysen will conduct experiments for an initial period of three years. Dr. Thaysen is of Danish origin, a naturalised British subject. He went to England early in 1914 to work at the Lister Institute on micro‐organisms, and when World War I. broke out the Admiralty secured his services for special war work. After the war he continued his research work with the Admiralty, and in 1936 his laboratory was transferred to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. Recently the Colonial Products Research Council, by arrangement with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, secured Dr. Thaysen's services for the study of food yeast in the West Indies. Whereas bakers' yeast will only increase fourfold in nine hours, it has been possible to increase the weight of food yeast 64‐fold in the same time, and this yeast shows the same behaviour in its life cycle as is characteristic of all free living bacteria. The aim of these experiments is the manufacture of food yeast on an industrial scale, and some years ago a small pilot plant was started at Teddington, England, where some 100 to 150 lb. of food yeast could be produced weekly. With the experience gained at this plant, the Colonial Office has set up a commercial scale plant in Jamaica with funds provided under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act. Jamaica was chosen for the site of this first pilot plant in the West Indies because the West Indies Sugar Company had the available accommodation, surplus power and technical staff to manufacture food yeast economically, and also had adequate supplies of molasses, sugar and cane juice close at hand. A similar plant is under construction in India. In planning for a wide scale manufacture of food yeast it is necessary to select localities where there is an abundant and cheap supply of the necessary sugars or other carbohydrates. The West Indies and India, for instance, can supply molasses; Africa, maize and other grains; the Middle East, citrus fruit and carob beans; and Canada, Newfoundland and the United States, waste sulphite liquor from the manufacture of paper. Food yeast, as produced in the pilot plant, is a light, straw‐coloured flaky powder with a pleasant nutty or meaty flavour. It has a protein content of between 40 and 45 per cent., contains some 2 per cent. of phosphorus, a balanced proportion of Vitamin B, riboflavin and nicotinic acid, and is superior to liver and the various yeast extracts at present on the market. One ton of food yeast can be produced from 1·7 tons of sugar products or other carbohydrates. Food yeast has been fed successfully to livestock with remarkable results, and for human consumption it can be incorporated into flour for bread and biscuits and used for flavouring soups and stews. To quote Dr. Thaysen : “ It is essential to produce food yeast at the lowest possible price if it is to serve its primary purpose of supplying those sections of humanity who are least blessed with worldly riches with a wholesome and abundant protein and Vitamin B food.” In other words, it can well be seen that the discovery of food yeast is going to be one of the greatest contributions science has made in our own time, the atomic bomb notwithstanding, and with so many people in the world at the moment suffering from years of malnutrition in varying degrees, food yeast is going to be one of the Allied Nations' greatest contributions to the rehabilitation of the world and the immediate need to feed Europe, after years of war, can be faced confidently now that Jamaica is producing it in sufficient quantity.


(1947), "British Food Journal Volume 49 Issue 8 1947", British Food Journal, Vol. 49 No. 8, pp. 71-80.




Copyright © 1947, MCB UP Limited

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