Stevia leaves contain sweeteners that are 100 to 400 times sweeter than sugar, without any calories. Unfortunately stevia leaves also contain bitter components, which make it difficult to apply natural stevia in consumer products.
At least until now. Blind tasting tests showed that there was a significant difference in bitterness between stevia treated with Phytonext extraction technology and untreated stevia.
Currently most producers use a method that attempts to extract the sweetness from stevia leaves while leaving the bitterness components behind. The risk associated with this process is that the bitter components stay attached to the sweet components. The Phytonext technology operates exactly the opposite way: it extracts in one step the bitterness from stevia leaves instead of the sweetness. After the extraction the stevia is exactly the same, except for the bitter components that are largely gone. After treatment the stevia can be used directly as a natural ingredient or as a raw material to extract the sweet components from. The latter has the advantage that there is a minimal risk of bitter components in the end product.
Phytonext is planning to set up a consortium of companies at a European level for collaboration with regards to cultivation, processing and distribution. Before that large scale tests will be conducted with Phytonext's industrial facility (completed in 2014 Q1).