Applied Food Sciences Inc. (AFS; Austin, TX) announced both its exclusive ownership of a U.S. process patent covering the production of enriched natural guayusa from a single-source plant, and the launch of Amatea guayusa extract, a highly water-soluble “focused energy” ingredient for use in beverages and nutritional supplements.
Guayusa (Ilex guayusa) is the caffeinated leaf of a holly species that grows solely in the upper Amazon region. Not related to the Camelia sinensis of green and black tea fame, guayusa is closer to yerba mate, though it boasts a sweeter taste and unique polyphenolic antioxidant profile.
The process patent lets AFS create a highly water-soluble energy ingredient that eases the delivery of caffeine, amino acids, chlorogenic acid, catechins, and other nutritional compounds to formulations for such applications as ready-to-drink tea beverages and functionally enhanced beverages.
Alongside its patent announcement, AFS is launching Amatea guayusa extract. Standardized to 20% caffeine, 30% chlorogenic acids, and 5% catechins, among other functional components, the ingredient is low in tannins and thus sidesteps the bitter, dry, and chalky qualities that plague more-astringent tea extracts. According to a company press release, the extract is “naturally sweet to complement a variety of flavors,” as well as non-GMO, GRAS, and organically grown.
Chris Fields, vice president of scientific affairs at AFS, noted in the press release, “Initial clinical research utilizing Amatea, when compared to synthetic sources of caffeine, demonstrated guayusa’s ability to help regulate epinephrine upon caffeine ingestion.” Pairing a conventional energy ingredient, like caffeine, that works by stimulating the central nervous system with one that may help regulate the body’s neurotransmitter function “could be a critical benefit to the cognitive energy category,” he said.
Further, added Brian Zapp, AFS’ director of marketing, the ingredient “is usually experienced as a bright and clear energy,” setting it up to meet “the growing demand of functional energy and cognitive-health products that are geared toward modern working consumers seeking a calmer nervous system and less agitation to go with alert mental or physical energy.”