The startup uses a precision-controlled-environment technology that allows them to cultivate intact-cell berry compounds outside of the plant.
Novella Ltd., a nutri-tech startup based in Modiin, Israel, has unveiled prototypes of its new line of berry-derived bioactives. The startup uses a precision-controlled-environment technology that allows them to cultivate intact-cell berry compounds outside of the plant. According to the company’s press release, the platform will ease bottlenecks in the supply chain of highly in-demand berry ingredients, as well as reduce carbon emissions and plant waste.
To accelerate the cultivation the whole-berry fruit cells from five varieties, Novella opened a new facility that will operate as its operational headquarters and pilot plant. Each variety is designed to meet distinct supplement market demands, according to the company’s press release.
“Berries cultivated solely for supplements on average require about 2,000 acres to yield just one ton of polyphenolic compounds,” explained Itay Dana, co-founder and chief business development officer of Novella, in a press release. “We have condensed that vast tract of agriculture into a 10K liter bioreactor that produces the same quantity of pure, high-value ingredients. This frees up valuable land for cultivating food crops and provides a host of other economic and environmental benefits, beginning with the complete elimination of waste. Our method requires minimal land, energy, and water usage and exerts a minimal carbon footprint. We can produce high-quality ingredients at affordable prices, independently of climate fluctuations, logistical challenges, or social and political constraints.”
Novella explains that instead of extraction, the company screens the plant’s tissues to pinpoint areas of the highest concentration of compounds, and then the selected cells are grown in a closed, controlled system that stimulates natural propagation. Cells are then transformed into a nutritious and bioaccessible powder without the need for solvents. By keeping the cultivation at the cellular level, says Novella, the company is able to maintain the berry’s natural complex of phytonutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols, including anthocyanins.
“We perform a one-time selection procedure, taking tissue from the skin and flesh of the berries while the fruit is in it most potent stage,” said chief technology officer, Moshe Flaishman, PhD. According to Flaishman, the company can also produce specific berry-derived ingredients by request.