Mibelle Biochemistry discusses sustainability credentials of PhytoCellTec technology

Fred Zülli, Managing Director of Mibelle Biochemistry, spoke to CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com about the sustainable aspects of the company’s PhytoCellTec technology ahead of a presentation he is giving at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in Paris.

PhytoCellTec is a novel biotechnology used to cultivate plant stem cells and has successfully been used by Swiss ingredients supplier Mibelle Biochemistry to produce, among others, an active ingredient based on stem cells from the rare Uttwiler Spätlauber apple.

Zülli highlighted how there is strong interest in the cosmetics industry for plant-derived products, especially from plants that are new, exotic and have unique properties. “However, these plants can usually not be cultivated and therefore must be collected in the wild which causes a problem regarding sustainability,” he explained.

Sustainable production of plant biomass

In order to offer such plant actives to the industry, said Zülli, Mibelle Biochemistry thus developed PhytoCellTec, a technology that allows plant biomass free from pollutants, fertilizers and pesticides to be produced in a sustainable way.

“We only need a small sample of the plant such as a leaf or a fruit. From this we can establish a plant cell culture which can produce in a reactor large amounts of the plant cells.”

As such, rare and endangered plants can be used in large amounts without interfering with nature, Zülli explained, adding that no agricultural land and much less water than a standard cultivation of plants is needed as the cells are grown in bioreactors. “This all counts for sustainability,” he said.

PhytoCellTec technology in detail

Using PhytoCellTec to establish a plant cell culture involves several stages, as Zülli explained.

First, a plant material such as a leaf is wounded. The plant will then develop a wound-healing tissue known as callus tissue, according to Mibelle Biochemistry, which consists of undifferentiated plant cells (stem cells). These stem cells are then further cultivated in bioreactors to generate unlimited biomass in-vitro, said Zülli.

Zülli will be giving a presentation entitled ‘Novel Extraction Techniques for Active Ingredients’ at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in Paris that is taking place from 21-23 November 2012. For more information about the event, please click here.

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