We caught up with CEO, Olivier Clech, at SPACE 2017 to hear how a company of that size can afford to enter the EU feed additive registration process.
The firm, which focuses only on a few plants and molecules such as saponins, grape and citrus extracts and teams up with local experts to ensure standardization and reliability of its plant extracts, has two other dossiers awaiting approval. They were submitted to the European Commission several years ago – the CEO said one of those dossiers is currently being reviewed by the EU Reference Lab (EURL) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Clech also outlined some of the R&D work in which the Angers based company is involved.
The plant extracts firm is working in a collaborative effort with SONAS (Natural Origin Substances and Structural Analogues, Angers University) and he expanded on that alliance:
“We have worked with SONAS for many years now. We are completing our second PhD thesis with them, specifically on Nor Grape. The one we did before was on saponins. There are something like 10,000 different molecules that have been described in the literature and there is not one single method to quantify these saponins.
“Thus, what we are developing, amongst other projects with SONAS, is methods of identification of identification and quantification so that when we develop products and send them to customers, they can ensure that these products are meeting the specs that we told them and they can integrate that into their quality systems with confidence.
“There is no reason why you can’t make these plant extracts as consistent and reliable as an amino acid from Adisseo or Ajinomoto. If you want you can do that it is just a matter of focus.”
Nor Feed’s focus on transparency around phytomarkers - molecules in plants – is aimed at illustrating the efficacy and the quality of the product for labs and feed compounders, he added.
While larger agribusiness players are investing in agile botanical companies in the plant extract sector, he noted, but there a lack of transparency about some products:
“A lot of companies are offering plant related products in the marketplace - phytogenics, botanicals – different words to name the same thing. When you put plant on a label it is quite attractive, people think this [the product] is going in the right direction. The reality is that there is still lots of confusion.
“For example, if you take essential oils, you can indeed extract essential oils from lots of plants, and you can purify and you can standardize, but you can also obtain certain essential oils through chemical synthesis. For example, carvacrol can be obtained through chemical synthesis and then mixed in with plant extracts. So, [in that way] you don’t always know what you buy.
“Nor Feed only works with plants, and [we don’t] play [around] with anything that is added. It puts some extra pressure on the kind of actives we work with but that is why we have decided to focus on a few types of plants only, to go deep into the understanding of them, [to determine] what will make the quality vary, and what we can do to ensure a consistent quality,” said Clech.