Advances in Specialty Chemicals and Industrial Enzymes Shine at BIO World Congress

“Natural and organic personal care is the fastest growing sector of the global personal care industry.” Kathy Lowther opened the discussion focused on Specialty Chemicals and Industrial Enzymes Destined for Food Ingredients, Cosmetics and Personal Care Sectors by getting the attention of the audience with the projection that the fastest growing sector will reach $14 billion by 2015.

Based in Alberta, Lowther discussed how the province will be joining this ever growing market. Alberta’s Specialty Chemical Ingredient (SCI) Initiative is focused on facilitating development of products from biomass. The goal of the program is to be the preferred supplied of ingredients for cosmetic and personal care household cleaning product industries. Alberta is working to connect the grower, end buyer, processor, and researcher to create a mutually beneficial relationship based in the Alberta economy. Alberta is actively working to position themselves to develop plant based ingredients while simultaneously enabling companies to generate profitable sales based in renewable, sustainably grown resources.

Neil Burns of P2 Science is also working to advance the development of products from biomass. P2 Science is focused on enabling the production of renewable cosmetics and personal care ingredients from biomass feedstocks. P2 Science has found that they can contribute to the growing sector by eliminating the price gap between natural extracts and petro in cosmetic and personal care product by focusing on feedstocks such as vegetable oils derived from soy.

Soy and vegetable oils were not the only feedstocks shared during this panel discussion. “The sea offers exciting opportunities for cosmetic creativity and innovation.” Albert Soley highlighted that while there are a higher percentage of actives among marine metabolites compared to terrestrial, only a few are currently used. Lipotec is taking advantage of the untapped market of marine microorganisms for therapeutic, cosmetic and alimentary markets.

Also creating a niche for himself, Neil Goldsmith explained how he is looking to provide innovative, sustainable ingredients for health, nutrition, and wellness using yeast. Evolva focuses their time and attention on low volume, high margin specialty products. By finding existing products with supply chain, pricing and quality issues, Evolva is overcoming these inherent challenges in products such as resveratrol, vanilla, stevia, and saffron, by recreating them through fermentation. Goldsmith expects to see these products entering the market in the next four years.

In case audience members were still unsure of the benefits of industrial enzymes, Anthony Pavel, General Counsel of the Enzyme Technical Association (ETA) focused his attention on sharing their benefits. From a regulatory standpoint, enzymes are considered to be intrinsically safe, biodegradable, with a high level of reaction specificity and control. In addition to being Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA for food, enzymes in general are the ideal candidate for the GRAS regulatory rubric as there is an existing in depth knowledge of their properties. As a result of this GRAS acknowledgment and successful partnership between both industry and regulators, it is anticipated that enzymes use will continue to grow in advance food processing applications.

Throughout this discussion specialty chemicals and industrial enzymes continued to shine in Montreal as the thought leaders and innovators came together during the last breakout session of the 10th Annual Bio World Congress to highlight one last time where innovation is headed.

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