Conagen Expands Natural Preservation by Fermentation

Bedford, Mass., Aug. 24, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As the “clean label” trend thrives in many consumer product categories, Massachusetts-based biotech Conagen announced the launch of a natural preservative, p-Coumaric Acid (PCA). Conagen’s PCA is made by fermentation and expands the natural preservatives offered by its commercialization partner Blue California.

The natural preservation market is driven by consumer exploration of clean-label food, beverage, personal care, and cosmetic product which do not contain artificial ingredients while still possessing extended shelf life.

In a published Mintel report Feb. 2021, U.S. Consumers were polled on relating ‘naturalness’ with ‘health, “43% of U.S. consumers have the perception that “all-natural” is an important factor when choosing healthy food and beverages.”

Food and beverage manufacturers are moving away from artificial ingredients in their processing and packaging methods. Therefore, new sources of natural preservatives, such as Conagen’s natural, fermentation-derived PCA, are ideal for brands to make a seamless change from synthetic preservation ingredients to natural ones.

“Our PCA expands the toolbox for product developers looking for a scalable, low cost-in-use, natural solution for increasing the shelf life of food without interfering with the flavor of their products,” said Conagen’s Vice President of Innovation, Dr. Casey Lippmeier.

PCA is a natural antioxidant and antimicrobial compound found in all plants, primarily peanuts, tomatoes, carrots, basil, and garlic. It is a key constituent of wine, vinegar, and honey.

Conagen produces PCA by an innovative precision fermentation process. This technology enables the cultivation of micro-organisms programmed to create sustainable, natural ingredients with high purity at a price competitive with synthetic PCA. PCA by fermentation is ideal for industrial applications as well.

“A sustainable source of PCA is also desirable as a precursor for different biopolymers and other high-tech biomaterials made with ‘green chemistry,”‘ said Lippmeier.

Green chemicals are a part of the global discussion on climate change and large chemical companies’ accelerating adoption of sustainable materials. “The novel polymers and co-polymers which can be made by fermentation-derived PCA enable the development of environmentally safer bioplastics and new applications in biomedicine,” said Lippmeier.

As an alternative to chemically synthesized compounds like bisphenol-A, PCA is a multifunctional natural and sustainable solution found in food to enable new and novel products by formulators and material scientists.

In the industrial applications space, PCA is ideal in coatings, composites, adhesives, and polymers for biomedical, transportation, aerospace, electronics, and packaging, just to name a few.

Last year, Blue California and Conagen jointly announced the commercialization of a 98% pure natural preservative, Rosavel™ rosmarinic acid, without the intensity of rosemary flavor and color as with most synthetic ingredients.  Another important natural preservative molecule derived from Conagen’s platform technologies is BC-DHQTM taxifolin, which secured GRAS status as announced last May.
About Conagen

Conagen is making the impossible possible. Our scientists and engineers use the latest synthetic biology tools to develop high-quality sustainable nature-based products through systems of manufacturing on a molecular level and fermentation basis. We focus on the bioproduction of high-value ingredients for food, nutrition, flavors and fragrances, pharmaceutical, and renewable materials industries.

About Blue California

Blue California is a vertically integrated technology company providing innovative ingredient solutions to global partners. With more than 20 years of innovation success, our ingredients are used in commercial products and applications in the industries of nutrition, personal care, healthy aging and wellness, functional food and beverage, and beauty.


Ana Arakelian