Plandai has corporate offices in Seattle, WA but has fields and is building a processing facility in the province of Mpumalanga, South Africa. Plandai has passed a manufacturing milestone, too, with the first shipment of equipment to its factory. Installation, calibration and testing of the equipment is expected by August with the processing and extraction facility expected to be ready for the first harvest in November. Plandai farms 1,000 acres of tea at the site, and intends to increase that to 2,200 acres over the next five years.
Under the terms of the licensing agreement, UK-based Phyto Nutricare PLC will pay Plandai a one-time license fee of two million dollars (US$2,000,000) and then a recurring payment equal to five percent (5%) of future profits from Phytofare product sales. Sales of Phytofare are expected to commence in Q4 of 2013. Callum Bayliss-Duffield, vice president of Plandai, has been named president and CEO of Phyto Nutricare.
"Our foremost goal over the short term is to bring Phytofare products to market and begin generating revenues. Phyto Nutricare is tasked with introducing our products to market in the nutraceutical arena, which covers supplements, food and drink additives, cosmetics, healthcare, and related fields,” said Plandai CEO Roger Duffield.
Plandai has built its business model around a propriety CRS processing and extraction system for live plant materials that alters the isomeric properties of phytonutrients in live plant material and rearranges them in a ratio such that they are significantly better absorbed.
According to Callum Bayliss-Duffield, Plandai’s vice president, in human tissueantioxidants are normally found in both cis and trans isomer compounds in a 50/50 ratio.
However, flavonoids in green tea might have a 95:5 cis:trans structure, while lycopene in tomatoes usually has a 95:5 trans-to-cis ratio. In both cases, the bioactive components are therefore very poorly absorbed.
Plandaí’s process changes trans-isomers into the cis form (eg. for lycopene) or vice versa (changes cis-isomers into the trans form, eg. for green tea catechins and citrus limonoids and bioflavanoids), such that the end product is far more bioavailable, representing a step change in the industry, he said.
"Cis-trans interconversion is presently acknowledged as one of the molecular bases of supramolecular chemistry which has opened the way to novel applications in molecular engineering, in particular, for the design of more efficient pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals," Bayliss-Duffield said at the Supply Side West trade show in November.
Plandai plans to develop a Phytofare citrus limonoid glycoside complex by Q3 2013 and green tea catechin extract by Q4 2013. Ultra-bioavailable lycopene, phytoene and phytofluene are expected to follow in 2014.
Study backed technology's benefits
The technology has shown increased levels of bioavailability when used to , according to a USDA study published in Food Chemistry (June 2012 pp1156-1160).
The study found the levels of the more bioavailable cis-lycopene isomers increased significantly when whole fresh tomatoes were processed using Plandaí's proprietary method.
A larger amount of total lycopene, phytoene and phytofluene was also recovered from CRS treated tomato samples when measured against conventional processing and recovery.
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 processing whole fresh tomato and found that it increased extracted cis-lycopene to as high as 43% of the total lycopene (vs 8-9% for untreated samples).
The company said it expects to shortly commence a human clinical trial targeting bioavailability, obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and high blood pressure, with results expected in late Q3.