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  • Writer's picturePhoebe Fraser

Ayana Bio and Wooree Green Science partner on cell-cultivated saffron

Ayana Bio has entered into a “seven-figure” JDA with Wooree Green Science, a subsidiary of Wooree Bio, to develop plant cell-derived saffron and other bioactive ingredients.

The ingredients will be used for health and wellness products for distribution in the South Korean market.

Wooree Green Science uses biotechnology to address sustainability needs in the agriculture industry, focusing on the development and commercialisation of functional ingredients for food and pharmaceutical products.

The joint development agreement (JDA) is set to increase the accessibility and affordability of underdeveloped beneficial botanical ingredients like saffron.

It is widely accepted that saffron aids in weight loss by suppressing appetite and increasing metabolism – however climate change-driven crop failures are exacerbating its already constrained supply chain, due to the plant’s labour-intensive harvesting needs.

According to Ayana Bio, it can take up to 170,000 flowers to produce just one kilogram of saffron, which makes it an extremely expensive ingredient for supplements.

This JDA aims to address these issues by sustainably producing saffron bioactives using plant cell cultivation, a cost-efficient, alternative production method that bypasses the constraints of agricultural supply chains.

Plant cell cultivation grows real plant cells in stainless steel tanks, delivering the health benefits of plant bioactives, without the quality issues that come from the constraints of conventional agriculture.

Ayana Bio's plant cell cultivation technology produces the full spectrum of bioactives found in nature – or with an even higher potency of beneficial bioactives. The ingredients in its ‘Plant Cell Advantage’ portfolio are DNA-fingerprint certified and 100% clean label, with standardised phytocomplex, increased bioavailability, full traceability and a neutral taste and colour.

Frank Jaksch, CEO of Ayana Bio, explained: “Saffron, like many other botanicals, faces a complex and uncertain future as it grapples with shifting weather patterns, pollution and water shortages in the limited number of countries where traditional production happens. We want to reinvigorate the natural plant-based weight loss supplement market so more people can reap the health benefits.”

CEO of Wooree Green Science Um Tae Wook added: “We’re excited to collaborate with Ayana Bio to utilise its plant cell cultivation technology for the production of new plant cell ingredients for a multitude of applications across food and beverages, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. We look forward to commercialising these high-value sustainable ingredients through this partnership.”

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