For the last ten years, EDC has been producing a “no sulfite added” papain, a proteolytic enzyme from the dried latex of Carica papaya. Papain is a sulfhydryl protease, and sulfites are naturally occurring in papaya (like onions, garlic, etc.), so there will always be some sulfites in our product.
This is why we don’t make any claims on our product being “sulfite-free.” But all lots of our product are guaranteed to have less than 100ppm, and most have less than 10ppm (the limit of detection).
People with sulfite sensitivities avoid the trigger foods like garlic and papaya, and food manufacturers are required to label products containing sulfites greater than 10ppm. Traditional papain products include the addition of Sodium metabisulfite to be used as an oxygen scavenger to help preserve the enzyme during processing. So, food manufacturers and consumers may be inclined to avoid products containing papain because of their concern about the sulfite levels.
With EDC’s “no sulfite added” papain, the sulfite level does not have to be a concern in your products. EDC conducts extensive testing on all of our raw materials. This allows us to validate that sulfites have not been added or incidentally added to the raw materials, and if the finished material has an unacceptable lead high level of sulfites, it would be a clear indication that sulfites had been added.
The level of deductible sulfite in a non-sulfite added papain has a linear relationship to the activity of the product measured on the TU (tyrosine units) assay, which measures the protease activity. The higher the TU activity, the more detectable sulfites you will find in the product. This relationship is due to the fact that a higher TU activity means a higher concentration of the sulfhydryl protease protein. Based on the activity we have generated over the last ten years, we have determined that if no sulfites have been added, papain with a minimum activity of 1000TU/mg should not have a detectable sulfite level greater than 25 ppm. In most cases, at this activity level, you should find less than 10ppm.
When manufacturers use a true “no added sulfite” papain, they can be confident that they do not need to label their products as containing sulfites. Even if the lot they receive from our facility is greater than 10ppm, when used in their product, the usage rate will bring them down way below 10ppm, meaning they would not need to issue a warning label.
For further information on flavor modification or to discuss technical questions on the use of other enzymes, please contact Enzyme Development Corporation at:
© Enzyme Development Corporation, November 2021