According to Forbes, the new Amryis's Purecane product is produced is by fermenting sugarcane,

But the Amyris scientists developed a unique method of making Reb-M using fermentation, the basic process we use to make beer, wine, and bread. By using a yeast culture to ferment sustainably-sourced sugarcane, Amyris was able to make very pure, sustainable Reb-M.

Their FAQ repeats this claim and says that the product contains no GMOs,

No. PURECANE™ Brand Sweetener (fermented sugarcane Reb M) is naturally derived from sugarcane grown in Brazil. Using the age-old process of fermentation, we remove the yeast as part of our purification process that enables us to create PURECANE™ Brand Sweetener (fermented sugarcane Reb M). We have received NSF Non-GMO certification on our PURECANE™ No Calorie Sweet Packets.

Their website even claims the product is "all natural" and "NON GMO"

That’s what we said when we discovered a revolutionary way to make sugarcane into an all-natural, zero calorie sweetener.

Is there any outside verification that Reb-M even be made through fermentation of sugarcane? We take a product everyone loves (sugar), ferment it (a 7000 year old natural process) and we get a supremely valuable 0-calorie sweatener only found in trace quantities inside of the "super-sweet steviol glucosides in the stevia plant"? Is there any evidence this claim is true?

  • 2
    Is the question here "can yeast make this", because clearly it can - the proof would be that is is? If you're asking what makes a GMO that would be a different question - chemical products of genetically engineered microbes have never been considered GMOs (as they don't have G and aren't O).
    – CJR
    Sep 15, 2021 at 19:34
  • The question is "Can rebaudioside M (Reb M) be made through fermenting natural sugarcane? " I don't believe "because clearly it can" is an answer. It's a marketing claim. It's not at clear to me that it can. I didn't believe it before I researched it. I still only believe it because others are claiming similar things. I don't for example see anyone on YouTube telling me how to create this magical yeast and do this, or anyone selling the magical yeast on eBay. Sep 15, 2021 at 19:44
  • I don't understand - do you think that they're making this chemical with a standard organic synthesis and just lying that they're making it by fermentation? Or do you not believe that the fermentation uses sugarcane as a feedstock?
    – CJR
    Sep 15, 2021 at 19:51
  • "standard organic synthesis and just lying that they're making it by fermentation" yes, that sounded very likely to me. There is no patent for example on Reb M production with yeast and fermentation pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/… and pubchem shows no methods of production at all for Reb M, (compare to Reb A which lists many and still has none on fermentation). pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/… Sep 15, 2021 at 20:05
  • 1
    "all natural" and "naturally derived" are marketing terms, and "GMO" has a specific meaning (a chemical can't be a genetically modified organism cause no genes and also not an organism). I can think of a bunch of chemicals that are made this way now - 2'fucosyllactose is in every high-end baby formula now ("all natural!") and it's made by fermentation with engineered bacteria. Even if you don't like the marketing terms, they're still making this chemical by fermentation.
    – CJR
    Sep 15, 2021 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


A competitor, Cargill, makes similar claims but specifies that the yeast is genetically engineered and "specially crafted" and not natural,

Like Amyris, Cargill looked at the more than 50 different sweet components of the stevia leaf called steviol glycosides. “By adding a few genes to the specially crafted yeast, we enable our yeast to produce the same type of enzymes used by stevia plants,” according to Cargill’s website.

Calling the product "all natural" seems like total marketing wank if the yeast is GMO'd.

  • 8
    Calling any product 'all natural' is, frankly, marketing wank.
    – Shadur
    Sep 15, 2021 at 19:01

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