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The challenge

With over 7,000 employees working across 50 plants, a presence in 32 countries and sales in over 90, AB Mauri is Associated British Foods' (ABF) most globally represented business. AB Mauri's specialty division, AB Biotek, focusses on the wine, beer and alcoholic beverages markets. Their global wine ingredients business includes a portfolio of speciality yeast products for existing and potential markets.

AB Biotek teamed up with the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) to develop and commercialise AWRI’s new yeast strain.

After learning of a new yeast strain developed by the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) in 2016, AB Biotek saw a commercial opportunity to create a new active dry yeast product. AWRI had proof of concept but required help to test and validate the dry yeast's capability before promoting it through established distribution channels. As part of their collaboration with AB Biotek, CSIRO SME Connect facilitated a combined research grant through AusIndustry's Innovation Connections.

Our response

The grant helped to develop and commercialise the new yeast strain at large-scale. AWRI researchers worked to identify the yields and productivity standards required to make the product economically viable. AB Biotek's Global Wine Market Director, Dr Anthony Heinrich said that the research team gained valuable insight into yeast manufacturing, which has been key to its successful commercial release.

The results

Utilising their internal selection programs, part of their unique IP/technology platform, AB Biotek was able to get the right dry yeast properties suitable for commercial scale winemaking.

After one term of commercial winemaking, it was clear that adjustments in dry yeast manufacturing were required, as well as some modifications to the yeast addition process at commercial wineries. Following these adjustments and a second round Innovation Connections funding was granted, further trials were successful.

The dry yeast has since been launched and promoted at The Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference in Adelaide, with sales already gained. This is likely to add significant credibility to AB Biotek as they expand globally into new wine markets and increase their long-term profitability.

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