US flavour house International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) has patented a new additive composition produced using saccharum officinarum leaves. The additive is intended for use in foodstuffs, beverages, chewing gums, non-calorie food components and medicines.

Protected under US patent number 6,242,029, the abstract reads:

    Described is a tastand-containing product produced from Saccharum officinarum leaves (sugarcane leaves) by means of carrying out one or more physical separation unit operations on a plurality of such leaves, macerates thereof or mixtures of leaves and macerates thereof whereby a tastand composition is separated and isolated from the remainder of the plurality of leaves, macerates thereof or mixtures of leaves and macerates thereof. The term "tastand" is intended to mean a composition of matter which: (i) effects flavour improvement; (ii) imparts flavour; (iii) effects sweetness enhancement; (iv) effects removal of bitter tastes and aftertastes; and/or (v) effects removal of metallic tastes and metallic aftertastes. Such unit operations include pressurization using hydraulic press means, steam distillation, factional distillation, supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, volatile solvent extraction and/or charcoal column separation means. Also described are compositions comprising (a) such tastand compositions in admixture with (b) an eatable (e.g., foodstuff, beverage, chewing gum, non-calorie food component or medicine) having a bitter and/or metallic taste. The eatable is any such ingested material taken by mammals, as exemplified by bitter chocolate or a drug such as ibuprofen.

The first claim (of eight) is for:

    A natural tastand product having the GC capillary survey profiles of FIGS. 2-A and 2-B produced according to the process consisting essentially of the sequential steps of:

    providing a plurality of Saccharum officinarum leaves, macerates thereof or a mixture of Saccharum officinarum leaves and macerates thereof;

    • ii) effecting pressurization of said leaves, macerates thereof or mixture of leaves and macerates thereof using hydraulic pressurization means designed to separate solids from liquids, thereby separating liquid leaf extract from pressed cake; and

    • iii) separating said natural tastand from the remainder of the liquid leaf extract by means of the unit operation of fractional distillation of the liquid leaf extract whereby the natural tastand-containing composition is condensed from overhead distillate in the liquid phase,

    • wherein the fractional distillation takes place at temperatures in the range of from about 70.degree. C. up to about 225.degree. C. and at pressures in the range of from about 0.7 atmospheres up to about 3.0 atmospheres absolute; and the hydraulic pressurization means pressure is in the range of from about 2,000 psig up to about 4,000 psig.

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