Naturex shoots for “green” breakthrough with University of Avignon


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Naturex shoots for “green” breakthrough with University of Avignon
Cosmetics ingredient and flavouring giant Naturex has formed a partnership with the University of Avignon to find environmentally friendly ways of extracting natural ingredients.

The ORTESA project, which comes online in October 2013, aims to develop more efficient and "green" ​extracts obtained with alternative solvents, as well as new technologies to extract rare botanical ingredients.

In its second phase, the collaboration between the ingredient company and the University’s GREEN research team will aim to develop breakthrough innovations in environmentally friendly extraction.

Antoine Bily, Naturex R&D director and co-head of the project, told One of the key aims is to use the extraction process more efficiently. We also aim to include all the principles of  eco-extraction completely, in the botanical extracts development strategy."

Sustainable extraction

Bily described the team's work: "For cosmetics, we are targeting speciality ingredients like rare botanicals with very rare and active compounds. We can use natural byproducts, for example from the sugar cane industry, to create new solvents."  

"This sustainable movement is key not only for the cosmetics industry but for all the others. We are moving from the whole chemical industry which started in the 60s to a whole natural industry, and and we consider eco-extraction as tool to increase the market share of botanical products in cosmetics."

ORTESA will incorporate sustainability in all steps of the extraction process, including choice of solvent, utilization of by-products, reduction of unitary operations and limitation of chemical alteration of botanical extracts.    

The laboratory is part of Naturex’s R&D plan for innovation and applied research, which aims to combine industrial expertise, cost in use and sustainable practices.

GREEN laboratory

Avignon University’s GREEN research team is described as “a leading academic laboratory that investigates innovative technologies for botanical extraction.”

The project's co-leader Professor Farid Chemat, has produced over 80 academic publications about biological extraction. He also organized the first international convention on green extraction on natural products last spring in Avignon.

Under the arrangement, scientists from GREEN and Naturex will be part of the same research team in lab facilities. 

The GREEN laboratory is also involved with a number of other projects, including ProBio3, an EU program which aims to create methods of extracting biofuel from renewable raw materials and industrial products.   

National Research Agency

Funding for the project came from the French National Research Agency (ANR), which will supply €300,000 for operations over the next three years.

ORTESA was chosen with six other companies under the LabCom program, which supports fundamental and applied research by public research actors as well as partnerships with SME and ETI companies.

The funding program is described as a device to bring together academic and business organizations.

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