Novella debuts line of whole-cell cultivated berry-derived bioactives
Nutri-tech start-up Novella has unveiled prototypes of its new line of berry-derived bioactives and has opened a new pilot facility in Modiin, Israel.
Charting a new course in the nutraceuticals industry, the start-up is in the later stages of developing intact-cell berry compounds grown outside of the plant using precision-controlled-environment technology.
Through the platform, Novella hopes to ease some of the bottlenecks in the supply for high-demand berry ingredients within the global supplement space.
The new facility comprises Novella’s operational headquarters and a pilot plant that will accelerate the cultivation of whole-berry fruit cells from five varieties, with each variety designed to meet distinct supplement market demands.
Cultivation of the intact-cells in a precision precision-controlled environment preserves the integrity of the whole phytonutrients in the berries. Novella aims to introduce a new supply channel for these high-value nutraceuticals that are currently in peak demand.
Itay Dana, co-founder and chief business development officer at Novella, said: “Berries cultivated solely for supplements on average require about 2,000 acres to yield just one ton of polyphenolic compounds. We have condensed that vast tract of agriculture into a 10,000-litre 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.”
He continued: “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’s cultivation platform takes a whole-cell approach and involves no extraction processes. The company screens the plant’s tissues to pinpoint the areas of the plant harbouring the highest concentration of compounds. The selected cells are grown in a closed, controlled system that stimulates natural propagation, with growth maintained at a cellular level without the need of the whole plant.
The cells are then transformed, without the need for solvents, into a nutritious, highly bio accessible and potent powder that the gastrointestinal system can readily absorb. “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,” explained Novella’s CTO Moshe Flaishman.
By keeping cultivation at a cellular level, the start-up says it can maintain the berry’s natural complex of phytonutrients including vitamins, minerals and polyphenols, including anthocyanins. Moreover, the cell wall serves as a natural form of encapsulation, protecting the actives from oxidation and ensuring maximum absorption in the body.
Dana added: “Polyphenols are powerful, yet volatile molecules that can experience losses during traditional extraction processes. Our non-extraction platform bypasses these deficits. The holistic approach harnesses the power of intact berry cells, guaranteeing the delivery of standardised, wholesome and pesticide-free bioactives."