The VH Berlin e.V. and its tradition of applied research for the industrial production of yeast

The Versuchsanstalt der Hefeindustrie e.V. (VH Berlin) was set up in 1922, and affiliated to the Berlin-based Institute of the Fermentation Industry (IfGB). It came into being in the wake of a great change from small-scale to large-scale industrial yeast production.
Close cooperation had existed between the yeast industry and the IfGB long before the foundation of VH Berlin. This can clearly be seen from Delbrueck’s and Hayduck’s research into the principles of pure yeast culturing, necessity for nutrition and, even more, the demand for assimilated nitrogen in mashed cereal substrates.

Significant progress came to the yeast industry in form of the fed-batch (“Zulauf-Verfahren”) process, developed by IfGB and patented in 1915. Years later, the fed-batch process was applied to the utilisation of molasses and ammonia to meet the nitrogen demand of yeast. This procedure paved the way for an unprecedented high-yield production of baker’s yeast. In that context, solutions for yeast quality problems relating to increasing molasse utilisation, needed to be developed in the 20s and 30s of the previous century.

Growing demand for yeast, the necessity to improve yeast quality and new developments in German legislation called for higher specialisation and concentration of research in the field of industrial yeast production. VH Berlin then decided to establish its own Research Institute for Baker’s yeast.

Topics of joint applied research projects included:
Yeast strain collection maintenance, yeast strain selection, optimisation of fermentation, downstream processes and drying as well as quality control of commercial baker’s yeasts and molasses.
VH Berlin has provided other benefits to its members in the yeast industry, including expert consultancy services, yeast conferences and meetings, as well as postgraduate education and teaching programmes, offered in connection with student training at Berlin’s Technical University and the Beuth university of applied sciences.

Continuing this tradition, the Versuchsanstalt der Hefeindustrie and its Research Institute for Baker’s yeast became the number one research and education centre of the international yeast industry.