Patent Allowances Received for Hydrogen Sulphide-Preventing Wine Yeasts
Functional Technologies Corp. (TSX-V:FEB; OTCQX:FEBTF) (the "Company") announced that a patent, and a notice of patent issuance, have been granted for the hydrogen sulphide ("H2S") preventing wine yeast technology developed by Dr. Linda Bisson at the University of California, Davis ("UCD") and submitted on behalf of the Company and the Regents of the University of California ("UC"). These patents have been awarded by the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, respectively. The Company licensed the exclusive global rights to this technology in December 2008. These are the first two allowances from the many major wine-producing countries in which UC has filed for patent protection for the proprietary H2S preventing yeasts that also yield low sulfur dioxide (SO2).
"We work very hard to develop novel technologies that not only help the wine industry, but that also have the potential for intellectual property protection to ensure commercial benefit and to protect the novelty and quality of the technologies developed," said Dr. Linda Bisson, Professor at the Viticulture and Enology Department at UCD and the principal investigator/inventor of this H2S preventing yeast technology. "One goal of ours was to be able to classically breed this H2S preventing capability into varying genetic backgrounds to provide an array of options to help the wine industry viably and practically address what is widely recognized to be a significant production hindrance and product sensory defect. This has been achieved and now wine yeast strains are commercially available that prevent the formation of H2S while ensuring low SO2 levels. "
H2S is a gaseous byproduct naturally emitted during wine fermentation, and is associated with a distinct rotten-egg odour. A well-recognized and widespread industry problem that has long plagued global winemaking, H2S can also form other reactive compounds that further add to the undesirable odours and flavours of the wine product. There are indications that even very low levels of H2S can mask the desirable sensory attributes sought by winemakers.
Functional Technologies' wine yeast strains, which are marketed through its wholly owned subsidiaries Phyterra Yeast Inc., USA and Phyterra Europe GmbH (collectively "Phyterra"), possess the proprietary attribute that disables the yeast's ability to form H2S during the fermentation phase, making them a robust preventative solution requiring no changes to existing production processes. The platform technology associated with these yeasts has enabled the cultivation of a portfolio of wine yeast strains, to serve winemakers and the different varietals of wines produced, which have generated very positive feedback and use in their first two seasons of sales.
"The granting of these patents validates our business model of investing in and developing proprietary yeast technology platforms that have commercially recognized and practical applications that can generate significant value for the Company, its strategic partners and collaborators and customers alike," said Dr. John Husnik, Functional Technologies' Chief Technology and Innovation Officer.
About Functional Technologies Corp.
Functional Technologies develops and commercializes proprietary, advanced yeast-based solutions to significant challenges in the food, beverage and healthcare industries. The Company's platform improves the performance of innate yeast functions, and prevents the formation of naturally occurring toxins and contaminants that either affect final product quality or are classified by the World Health Organization as probable human carcinogens. Functional Technologies' lead technologies include yeasts that prevent and reduce the formation of the foul-smelling hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and the carcinogens acrylamide and ethyl carbamate (more commonly known as urethane), by-products of food and beverage processing. These contaminants are found in many commonly consumed items, such as fermented food products and alcoholic beverages, and baked and fried foods. For more information, please visit our website at www.functionaltechcorp.com.