Plant Cell Technology Now a Commercial Reality

March 19, 2014

Plant cell technology can produce higher concentrations of desirable active-ingredient cells and less of undesirable cells.

At Natural Products Expo West, DianaPlantSciences (Portland) said it is now officially ready to partner with the right companies looking to leverage the benefits of plant cell technology.

As company president Marc Philouze explained, plant cell technology is not genetic modification, nor is it synthetic production. Rather, the company starts by taking cells from an actual plant and then proceeds to grow those cells in a controlled environment to produce higher concentrations of desirable active-ingredient cells and less of undesirable cells.  Take, for instance, DianaPlantSciences’ first official branded ingredient, Cocovanol. Cocovanol is a freeze-dried, ground Theobroma cacao powder. Using plant cell technology, the company is able to produce Cocovanol so that it is higher in polyphenols than other cacao powders, but also free of caffeine and theobromine.

Besides building a better ingredient, plant cell technology also offers the benefits of not wasting as much biomass (because they company doesn’t have to start with a large amount of biomass, only to extract out just a small amount of active ingredient, as with typical extraction) as well as providing more supply stability (not subject to environmental or seasonal changes that can put an ingredient’s supply at risk). Plus, companies get access to rarer ingredients that they otherwise might not. A rare plant, for instance, need only be accessed once to obtain the starting cells. “The beauty of that is, once you have your cell line going, you never have to go back to the plant again,” Philouze says.

Nutritional Outlook will continue to report on this promising technology.

 

Jennifer Grebow
Editor-in-Chief
Nutritional Outlook magazine jennifer.grebow@ubm.com