New ingredients spur capacity increase at Enzymotec
phospholipids plant - the third this year - as awareness grows of
its new ingredients in the mental and cognitive function category.
The company says it has tripled capacity, but would not reveal precise volumes. Marketing manager Elzphan Hotam told NutraIngredients.com that it is "multiples of tens of metric tons".
Hotam said that the new expansion is down to developments with several ingredients: the introduction of a patented grade of its regular Sharp PS with prolonged stability; the launch of alpha-GPC; and the launch of Sharp PS Gold.
Sharp PS Gold in particular has caused Enzymotec to adjust its production set up, since it is more complex to produce than the regular Sharp PS, being a PS (phosphatidylserine) - DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) conjugate. Both PS and DHA have been separately associated with mental function, but Hotam said that together they are more similar to that which is found in the human brain. Moreover, the conjugate has been studied for its ability to increase availability of DHA to the brain.
Historically PS-DHA has been sourced from bovine brain, an origin that meant it was no longer viable for human consumption with the outbreak of BSE in the 1990s.
Until the same product could be developed from safe, enzymatic sources, PS without the DHA element was the industry's only option. Hotam was unable to reveal details of the process behind Pharp PS Gold and how it differs from regular Sharp PS, but he said it is "multi-stage" and "takes longer".
Sharp PS Gold has already found two major accounts in the US - with Country Life and Life Extension - and the company expects others to follow.
"We are confident it will be a leading mental health ingredient for 2007," said Hotam.
Enzymotec has conducted a clinical trial on the ingredient's ability to boost brain bioavailability and is planning a large human trial for next year.
"One of the most important aspects in this area is new clinical trials performed on well-established ingredients."
Further expansions of the facility are also likely, as the company seeks to introduce at least two new products in 2007. Hotam said: "We have very skilled technical personnel, and we can expand quite rapidly when we need to".
As for the potential of the mental health category, Enzymotec believes it has great potential amongst consumers, especially given the concerns of the ageing population in maintaining their cognitive function as long as possible.
He said that the ability to effectively brand to consumers is also key, and is one of the challenges that will allow access to market potential.