Conagen Produces Two Thaumatin Protein Natural Sweeteners at Scale

100,000 times sweeter than table sugar

Bedford, Mass., March 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Food and beverages brands get two more tools for their sugar reduction toolkits as Conagen announced the successful scale-up production of two new high-intensity sweeteners, thaumatin I and thaumatin II. The development will expand commercial partner Sweegen’s robust sugar reduction solutions of zero-sugar natural sweeteners.

Thaumatin is a group of proteins found in the fruits of the tropical plant Thaumatococcus danielli. Each protein, thaumatin I and thaumatin II, varies slightly in sweetness profiles. Both proteins have been evaluated as 100,000 times sweeter than sugar on a molar basis and 3,000 times sweeter on a weight basis. The high sweetness factor can translate into a strategic cost-effective sugar reduction solution for brands seeking to get the most out of a natural sweetener.

The thaumatin proteins were developed from Conagen’s peptide production platform, which had previously been used for the scaled production of another peptide sweetener, brazzein. “Conagen constantly improves its protein and peptide production platforms to generate more exciting new products,” said Casey Lippmeier, vice president of innovation at Conagen. “In this case, the platform has been leveraged to make thaumatin by several innovative approaches, but under a significantly shorter R&D timeline.”

These two new, high-purity thaumatin proteins add to Sweegen’s creative portfolio of sugar reduction solutions to help brands make low-calorie products. Brands can now explore the synergistic benefits of formulations that contain thaumatin and other products from Sweegen’s Signature Sweetener portfolio, including brazzein and stevia. This diversity of natural, high-intensity sweeteners represents the most cost-effective approach for reducing sugar in food and beverages to deliver the best tasting match for the sweetness of sugar.

The desire for natural sweeteners will drive the demand for fruit and plant-based sweeteners, such as thaumatin and stevia, respectively. The main advantages to sweetening food and beverages with thaumatin are its familiarity and acceptance by consumers and the fact that it is approved for use in products by the majority of the countries in the world.

Health-conscious consumers are generally more accepting of natural sweeteners than sugar and artificial sweeteners. According to FMCG Gurus, Top 10 Future Trends 2030, “60% of global consumers currently believe natural sweeteners are healthier alternatives to sugar.” The trend report further stated, “Increasingly, consumers will want only products that contain real and authentic ingredients, and sweeteners will be no exception to the rule. As such, this will drive demand for sweeteners sourced directly from fruits and plants, something that the industry will respond to.”

Like most other proteins, when thaumatin proteins are consumed, they are digested into amino acids.  However, because thaumatin communicates such a strong sweet taste, the levels used in most applications contribute almost no calories. It is one of the most intense sweeteners ever discovered.

Consumers increasingly expect to stock their pantries with low-to-no sugar products with food and beverages that fit into their lifestyle and diets. Thaumatin can complement a number of consumer lifestyles, such as diabetic, ketogenic, or low-to-no carbohydrate diets. These sweet proteins are low on the glycemic index.

“Thaumatin is the second announced product generated from our peptide platform, which fits well into our existing world-scale, precision fermentation infrastructure.” Lippmeier further added, “Peptides and small proteins like brazzein and thaumatin can be very difficult to make economically; however, now that we have successfully scaled multiple peptides and proteins, we are willing to collaborate with other customers to make other novel peptide products.”

Regulatory approval for thaumatin as natural sweeteners has passed in the European Union (E957), Israel, and Japan. In the United States, it is generally recognized as safe as a flavoring agent (FEMA GRAS 3732).

About Conagen
Conagen is a product-focused, synthetic biology R&D company with large-scale manufacturing service capabilities. Our scientists and engineers use the latest synthetic biology tools to develop high-quality, sustainable, nature-based products by precision fermentation and enzymatic bioconversion. We focus on the bioproduction of high-value ingredients for food, nutrition, flavors and fragrances, pharmaceutical, and renewable materials industries. www.conagen.com

Attachment

Ana Arakelian, head of public relations and communications
Conagen
+1.781.271.1588
ana.arakelian@conagen.com

Keep Your Cool: Hisense Celebrates Closure of the Summer Season with New Hi-Season Campaign

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, March 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As summer draws to a close in South Africa, Hisense, provider of high-performance TV and home appliances, is catching the last summer days to help the South African households keep their cool with its new Hi-Season campaign this March.

Any customers who purchase Hi-Season promotional products and send proof of purchase to prize@hisense.co.za before 15th April will enter the draw to win a Hisense fridge. Alongside the lucky draw, Hisense is offering savings up to R10,000 across its product range. It has be proof of purchase of an online purchase. Participating retailers include Takealot, Makro, Game, Hifi Corp, Everyshop, Hirsch, FNB Complete, and New World.

As part of the Hi-Season campaign, Hisense is casting the spotlight on three appliances that will help users reimagine summer:

75A6GS 4K UHD TV

Experience a total 4K solution with 4K resolution and an UHD AI Upscaler. Over 8 million pixels are housed for true 4K resolution, while the upscaler works to enhance non-4K signals to achieve near-4K resolution and greater detail than standard FHD signals. Feel immersed by the DTS virtual X advanced surround sound solution suite, or connect Bluetooth devices for more audio options. The 75A6GS also includes Game Mode and the VIDAA U4.0 personalized content platform for a non-stop summer of entertainment.

120L5F Laser TV

Bring the cinematic experience home with brighter pictures, natural colours and ultra-clear details. The ultra-short throw 120L5F Laser TV projects a colourful and bright image onto a 120-inch ambient light rejection screen that’s designed for viewing in any room in the house. Enjoy incredible image depth and quality with 4K UHD and over 8 million pixels — and with close to zero harmful blue lights, viewers benefit from a healthier viewing experience free from eye strain, even after long viewing periods.

H670SIA-WD Side by Side Refrigerator

H670SIA-WD is both energy efficient and environmentally friendly, earning the appliance an A+ energy class rating. Its multi-airflow technology cools the fridge evenly from corner to corner so food stays fresher for longer. Hisense’s frost-free technology reduces the humidity level to prevent frost formation, and the accelerated temperature adjustment ensures frozen goods defrost quickly. With the built-in internal water reservoir, users have a permanent supply of chilled water at the press of a button.

For more information on the Hi-season campaign, please visit https://hisense.co.za/ .

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1771531/HiSeason_Summer_KV___final.jpg

AngloGold Ashanti initiates programme to protect ground water

Obuasi (Ash), March 23, GNA – AngloGold Ashanti, Obuasi Mine, has initiated a public sensitization programme to educate the people of the Adansi area on protection of groundwater.

The programme, which was being implemented in collaboration with the Ghana Water Company was to educate the people on the negative impact of open defecation, illegal mining and spillage of oils and other chemicals, as well as indiscriminate land use patterns on groundwater.

Mr Nixon Asante, Senior Manager, Environment at AgloGold, who announced this said many people in Obuasi and its environs were oblivious of the impact of their activities on ground water.

It was therefore important for the company to lead public education on the importance of groundwater which was a crucial water resource for many people.

He was speaking at a durbar to mark this year’s world water day celebration at Obuasi.

This year’s celebration was under the theme “Groundwater- making the invincible visible.”

Mr Asante said AngloGold Ashanti appreciated the importance of groundwater as a primary source of water for most communities within Obuasi and therefore, it had drilled a monitoring borehole for underground water monitoring which enabled the company to detect any adverse impact of mining on groundwater.

He said as a global mining business, AngloGold regarded its role in accelerating the transition to a low- carbon economy as crucial.

That was why in 2008, the company announced its initial emission reduction goals which it met in 2018.

Its carbon intensity had reduced by 43 per cent and overall emissions have almost halved.

Mr Asante dispelled assertion by some people that mining activities of AngloGold Ashanti destroyed water bodies.

He said the company was into responsible mining and its activities were regulated by institutions like the Environmental Protection Agency, which would not approve its licenses if operations were having negative effects on the environment.

Mr Elijah Adansi-Bonah, Obuasi Municipal Chief Executive, said the government was committed to deal with illegal mining activities to help protect the country’s soil and water bodies and make them safe for human consumption.

Ms Abena Dufie Wiredu Bremang, Principal Officer and Head of Pra Basin at the Water Resources Commission, said it was important to provide the needed technical knowledge to locate, abstract, treat and protect groundwater for future generations.

Mr Laurent Piat, Managing Director of Veolia Ghana Limited, pledged the company’s ongoing efforts to improve access to resources, preserve available resources, and replenish them.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Greater Accra Region NHIA tops revenue mobilisation

Accra, March 23, GNA-The Greater Accra has emerged as the best regional revenue mobilisation performer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

Mr Bernard Brown, the Greater Regional Director of the NHIA, disclosed this at the annual review operational meeting of the Authority for 2021.

He said, “As a region, we were all giving tasks down to the districts. This year, the good news is that Greater Accra was first in terms of revenue mobilisation performance with 81.72 per cent and our performance as membership is also particularly good because, in the last quarter, we were the most improved region.”

This year’s event was special as compared to the previous years, adding that, “this year’s event is quite special because we have invited our colleagues from other directorates to come and give us the inputs as to the current happenings as far as the operations in those areas are a concern.”

Madam Abigail Asalu from the Quality Assurance Directorate, who did a presentation on behalf of the team, said the Greater Accra Region NHIA revenue mobilisation performance in 2021 was 21.33 per cent higher as compared to 2020 revenue.

On Mobile renewal, she said the Region also chalked 82.45 per cent and 27.58 per cent of indigents registration.

On the contrary, the active membership performance of the region was 42.71 per cent and was ranked 14th out of 16 regions below the national average of 54.36 per cent.

Madam Asalu added that the active membership figure in 2021 was 2,330,196 representing 80.99 of the adjusted annual targets of 2,877,124 which was 48.71 per cent higher than the 2020 annual active membership figure of 1,566,926.

She said the team encountered some challenges such as the inadequate supply of consumables, administrative support, logistics, etc., which affected the Region’s operations and performance.

Source: Ghana News Agency

ECOWAS Court of Justice awards cost against Ghana

Accra, March 23, GNA – The ECOWAS Court of Justice has awarded a cost of $750 against Ghana in a matter in which the Government has been sued over the Agyapa deal.

This is because of delay caused by Ghana (through the Attorney General) in filing her reply to the applicants’ response in the matter.

The applicants: Transparency International, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) and Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) sued the Government of Ghana in the ECOWAS Court of Justice over the Agyapa deal.

The Court has ordered Ghana through the Attorney General to file their reply to the applicants’ response by Monday March 28.

The Court has fixed Wednesday March 30 to commence hearing as part of its external sitting in Accra from March 21 to April 1, 2022.

When sitting resumed today at the Law Court complex in Accra, Mrs Dorothy Afriyie Ansah, Chief State Attorney, prayed the Court to grant them a week adjournment to enable her reply to the applicants’ response.

Mrs Ansah contended that she had suffered post COVID-19 complications hence her inability to respond to the applicants’ response.

Mr Olumide Babalola, counsel for the applicants, prayed the Court to award a cost of $I, 000 if the state was now going to file her reply to his response.

The three-member panel presided over by Mr Justice Edward Amoako Asante, obliged Ghana the opportunity to file her reply and awarded cost of $750 against Ghana.

The Court further adopted Ghana’s proposed defence.

Mr Babalola lamented over the fact that he had to be travelling up and down for months from the UK because of the case, thereby incurring more expenses.

The three applicants had gone to ECOWAS Court of Justice two years ago over the Agyapa deal because the deal did not follow due process.

The applicants further held that the deal was not in the interest of the public and that the company proposed to be set up by the government had some politically exposed persons on board. 

Ghana through the Attorney General filed its proposed defence in the matter.

Source: Ghana News Agency

National policy for nursing and midwifery mentorship programme launched

Accra, March 23-GNA – A National Policy Guideline for a Nursing and Midwifery Professional Mentorship Programme (PMP) was on Wednesday launched in Accra to improve the career pathways for nurses and midwives.

The policy developed by the Ministry of Health with funding from the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) is expected to improve nursing and midwifery services in the country.

It was launched by Professor Sheila Tlou, a former Minister for Health, Botswana, and a Chancellor of the Open University.

She encouraged nurses and midwives and take interest in politics to help improve the implementation of policies for nurses and midwives at the national level.

The Ghana’s Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman- Manu, in a speech read for him said the policy would reposition the nursing and midwifery profession in the right direction.

He said mentorship was recognized as a method for encouraging professional development in organizations all over the world and the Ministry of Health (MoH) believed it was vital to retain and continue to facilitate the growth of health professionals.

“Mentorship is an integral and strategic tool that can contribute to maintaining the nursing and midwifery standards, improve nursing and midwifery care resulting in an overall positive health outcome,” he said

Mr Agyeman-Manu said Ghana’s quest and roadmap to accelerate the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) must be driven by strong, highly skilled and competent health professionals through such mentorship programmes.

He said the mentorship programme would guide nurses and midwives in their professional, personal, and interpersonal growth, promote the understanding of factors that helped the health professionals to integrate theory into practice and improve workplace engagement and morale of nurses and midwives.

Mrs Martha Gyansa-Lutterodt, Director of Technical Coordination at the Ministry of Health, said the policy would serve as a formal structure and system of mentorship in nursing and midwifery and other professionals.

“The five- year Strategic Plan and services framework required that we ‘Design culturally sensitive and professionally appropriate mentorship program’ as key means of addressing high quality nursing and midwifery practice and client care,” she said.

Mr Barnabas Yeboah, Chief Programme Officer for Nursing and Midwifery, MOH, advised mentors to dedicate sufficient time for mentoring, assign tasks that stretch the mentees and build relationships with focus on intra-professional and gender, race, or equality.

He tasked the mentees to be respectful and corporate with their mentors.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Lincoln University offers scholarships for Ghanaian students

Accra, March 23, GNA – Lincoln University in the United Kingdom has offered a scholarship package worth 5,000 pounds each for Ghanaian students of Regent University College of Science and Technology, (RUCST) Ghana to pursue post-graduate programmes.

Ghanaian students who are not students of Regent University will need a recommendation from the University to apply for the scholarship opportunity at Lincoln University.

Dr David Rugara, the Head of International Partnerships, Lincoln International Business School, University of Lincoln, announced this at a press briefing during a working visit to Regent University in Accra.

The Regent University College of Science and Technology on October 8, 2021, signed a virtual Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Lincoln, to promote education, research, and cultural understanding between the two institutions of higher learning.

The agreement provides the framework for a Research and Professional Development Grant to be established, in collaboration with the Lincoln International Business School.

It covers staff exchange, where a staff member from Regent University College of Science and Technology would be fully sponsored by Lincoln International Business School to visit the University of Lincoln as part of professional development.

Dr Rugara said the visit to Ghana was to foster the relationship they signed with Regent University and help nurture the skills and talents of the students to be creative in finding solutions to problems.

He said the University of Lincoln was among others, ranked second in the UK for Chemistry out of 52 institutions, fourth for Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure out of 47 institutions, ninth for Geography and Environmental Science out of 68 institutions.

Dr Rugara said Lincoln University had created an inclusive curriculum and committed to fostering a global mindset to achieve competencies for students.

Dr Paul Igwe, Regional Academic Lead, West and East Africa, Lincoln International Business School, University of Lincoln, said the University shared the same vision with RUCST of developing the entrepreneurial mindset of students to be productive in their various fields.

He said the University was poised to give students a career focus by giving them the opportunity to be critical thinkers to solving global challenges.

Professor Ernest Ofori Asamoah, President, RUCST, said the University prepared graduates to take charge of their destinies and the nation, stressing, “we give more than a degree and a certificate, but empowers individuals to become people of influence, to impact generations.”

He said the University’s focus was to build the mindset of students through innovative teaching and learning, using a problem-based learning model, as well as bridging the gap between academia and industry.

That, he explained, was done through research topics from the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and scaling up their internship programme for hands-on experience on the field.

The Professor announced that the University was selected among 14 institutions in Africa and the only institution from Ghana to host a Malaria Research Project.

The project, he said, was the second phase which started in January 2019 and trained masters’ students in epidemiology.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Immigration Officer shot dead at Nandom-Kokoligu

Wa, March 23, GNA – An officer with the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) attached to the Operation Conquest Fist (OCF) at the Hamile detachment, has been shot dead at Kokoligu in the Nandom Municipality.

AICO I Michael Otu, the deceased allegedly sustained six gunshots and lost his life in the process.

His body has been deposited at the Nandom St. Theresa’s Hospital for preservation.

A statement from the Service, signed by Ibn Yussif Duranah Abdul-Mumin Seidu, the Upper West Regional Public Affairs Officer of GIS, and copied the Ghana News Agency in Wa, said the command picked up the information about the incident at about 1815hrs Tuesday.

The statement said preliminary investigations revealed that the officer met his untimely death in a struggle with his assailants who were largely suspected to be smugglers.

“His body was hidden under a bridge whilst his motorbike and helmet were found some 100 meters away from the remains. It was further revealed that his weapon was taken away from him by his assailants”, the statement said.

It added that the deceased AICO I Michael Otu was for night duty on the Ghana-Burkina Faso border when he met his untimely death.

“While we call for calm, together with the Defense Intelligence and Police, all efforts in the pursuit of the perpetrators and their modus operandi behind the callous killing of this selfless Patriot is a necessity.

“We call on anyone with positive leads to volunteer same to allow justice to take its own course. We shall leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the perpetrators of this barbaric incident. They may run but they can’t hide”, the statement said.

Source: Ghana News Agency