Thirty-five years ago, three scientists in Oregon set out to create a fermented ingredient to protect against microbial spoilage and extend the shelf-life of food products. What resulted from their efforts was a product called MicroGARD – a fermentate that eventually yielded a family of related food protection ingredients to meet increasing customer demands.

This year, the MicroGARD fermented product range celebrates 35 years in DuPont Nutrition & Health’s expansive portfolio of ingredients. Developed decades before the “clean label” movement gained popularity, MicroGARD offers food manufacturers a label-friendly, easy-to-recognize ingredient with the opportunity to shorten product label ingredient statements.

“The phrase ‘clean label’ was unknown to consumers when we launched MicroGARD, which shows how early we saw the beauty in fermentation based ingredients,” said George Weber, Ph.D., senior principal scientist with DuPont Nutrition & Health, a co-inventor of MicroGARD. “Now that consumers appreciate the health and nutritional benefits of fermented products, we are pleased that we can continue to celebrate and add to the legacy of this ingredient.”

For nearly three years, Weber worked alongside two scientists from Oregon State University to develop MicroGARD 100: James Ayres, Ph.D., now retired professor of pharmacy, and William Sandine, Ph.D., retired professor of microbiology. Initially, the ingredient was developed to prevent mold growth in commercially packaged yogurt.

Other uses for MicroGARD were discovered, such as its ability to extend shelf life in cottage cheese. A non-dairy dextrose version of the ingredient called MicroGARD 200 was adapted to fight mold in salad dressing and officially became the first offspring in the MicroGARD family of ingredients. MicroGARD products provided an innovative and effective way to replace synthetic preservatives with fermented ingredients.

More than three decades later, the MicroGARD family of ingredients continues to provide innovative solutions to meet the challenges of today, including the latest application: MicroGARD 210 for high-protein nutrition bars. “Over the years, our account representatives became exceptionally well versed at suggesting new applications for fermentates to help customers overcome challenges with their products,” Weber said. MicroGARD products provide solutions for a wide application range including culinary, dairy, meat and poultry, bakery, confectionary and bars. Identity preserved (IP) and organic products also are available.

Today, the MicroGARD family offers food manufacturers the ability to improve profitability by maintaining product quality and reducing premature spoilage. The fermentates also contribute to emulsification and positive flavor and color attributes, enabling food manufacturers the opportunity to formulate with fewer ingredients. DuPont offers scientific expertise and technical support for success.

“In working with this product for such a long time, we’ve been able to identify a number of functional properties for it that have contributed to its longevity and made it appealing to overseas markets,” said John Wyatt, regional product manager, DuPont Nutrition & Health.

As a food protection ingredient, MicroGARD adds to DuPont’s robust portfolio of ingredients that support the United Nation’s global initiative on food loss and waste reduction.

For more information about MicroGARD fermentates or to view the complete product range, visit the DuPont Nutrition & Health website at