Plandai Biotechnology is the latest nutraceutical company to seek its fortunes in the seemingly greener pastures of the medical marijuana trade. The company announced the formation of a wholly-owned subsidiary called Cannabis Biosciences, Inc. for the purpose of applying its proprietary Phytofare extraction technology to develop a new cannabis extract.
In addition, the company announced a deal with Diego Pellicer, Inc. and Diego Pellicer Worldwide Inc. which will permit the company use of the Diego Pellicer name for its Phytofar cannabis extracts in medical and pharmaceutical marijuana applications.
Plandai has been developing its technology over the past several years. It claims its “hydrodynamic shearing” technology delivers extracts with many times greater bioavailability than standard extracts. The technology uses a combination of heat, pressure and hydro-cavitation to extract the active fractions and can be used for a variety of botanical feedstocks and can even handle whole plant inputs, said Plandai CEO Roger Baylis-Duffield who co-invented the process. The company says its process reduces the released molecules into mainly nano-particle size where the antioxidant isomers are realigned making them more compatible with human tissues. According to a research report prepared by Murphy Analytics, Plandaí will be able to offer bioavailability rates of 60-80% for green tea extracts compared with 1-10% for extracts currently on the market.
The company, which has corporate offices in Seattle and has been developing a tea plantation and farm in South Africa and has neared completion on its production facility, a program that has taken longer than originally planned. The first product to hit the market, an event now planned for the first quarter of 2014, is a catechin complex from green tea. Other planned extracts include carotenoids (lycopene) from tomatoes, citrus bioflavonoids and limonoids.
Positive results in tomato samples
According to a study published Food Chemistry (June 2012 pp1156-1160), levels of the more bioavailable cis-lycopene isomers increased significantly when tomato samples were treated using Plandaí's proprietary method.
A larger amount of total lycopene was also extracted from treated tomato samples than untreated samples.
In the study, ‘Effects of a hydrodynamic process on extraction of carotenoids from tomato’ , research biologist Dr. Betty Ishida evaluated the results of using “a proprietary hydrodynamic method” for treating tomato samples and found that it increased extracted cis-lycopene to as high as 43% of the total lycopene (vs 8-9% for untreated samples).
She added: “In nature, lycopene exists almost exclusively as the all-trans stereoisomer. Cis-lycopene isomers form during cooking and digestion, resulting in higher percentages in plasma and tissues than ingested. Cis-lycopene isomers are more bioavailable than all-trans lycopene.”