Thomas Tompkins, biochemistry and microbiology research director of Institut Rosell told NutraIngredients.com that the company was approached by the NRC two years ago, as it was investigating different products to use for the creation of the CRM. Lalmin Se was judged to be the most appropriate since it is both reproducable and consistent.
He said that the collaboration with the NRC has given significant insight into the nature of Lalmin Se, a selenized yeast made from inactivated dried whole-cell yeast organically fermented using supplementation of selenium.
"Until now, the lack of reliable measurement techniques for determining the amount of selenomethionine in selenized yeast has hindered technical improvements in production, and created trade barriers. With the new CRM, we are now able to fully characterize our selenized yeast product and link our measurements to international standards, promoting our international trade efforts."
The NRC's reference material for selenium is the only one in existence at the moment, and is available internationally. Indeed the research involved the participation of prominent laboratories around the world and the results were pooled.
Selenium is a common mineral supplement. In the US it became the subject of a FDA qualified health claim in 2003, which states that: "Selenium may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Some scientific evidence suggests that consumption of selenium may reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer. However, FDA has determined that this evidence is limited and not conclusive."
According to Institut Rosell, the organic binding of the micronutrient to the yeast results in a form that is more bioavailable than the inorganic form.
What is more, the strain of Saccharomyces cerevisae yeast used to make Lalmin Se can absorb large quantities of selenium, incorporating it as selenium-enriched amino acids like selenomethionine.
A study carried out by the Vanderbilt University Medical Center earlier this year indicated that selenomethionine is twice as bioavailable as selenium in the form of selenite.
Lalmin Se is available in the United States and Canada, and in some EU member countries. Selenium yeast was not included in the 2002 positive list of ingredients, but can continue to be sold in the countries were it was available prior to this date (including France and the UK, which has given derogation) either until 2009, or until the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) makes a decision over it.
In March the company teamed up with competitors Wassen UK and Lesaffre France to submit a dossier on selenium-enriched yeast to EFSA and is currently awaiting a decision.