Precision fermentation specialist Insempra GmbH has inked a supply deal with Axxence Aromatic GmbH for alpha-Ionon, a natural flavour and fragance ingredient.
Insempra GmbH has launched its first functional ingredient, a biotechnologically produced, 100% natural alpha-Ionone flavour and fragrance ingredient for food and beauty market applications. The company, headquartered close Munich in the IZB biotech cluster, has partnered with the German natural aroma ingredients manufacturer and distributor Axxence Aromatic GmbH to market the product to food and beauty manufacturers globally. Under the terms of the agreement, Axxence has been distributing the product to customers since the beginning of 2023. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.
Alpha-Ionone, a degradation product of carotenoids, is an aroma compound found in a variety of essential oils, mainly derived from natural sources such as raspberries, almonds, and blackberries. In contrast to chemically manufactured, racemic alpha-Ionone aromas, Insempra’s natural product has a more defined and purer aroma achieved by selectively producing only the desired enantiomer, (R)-alpha-Ionone, resulting in a uniquely superior, deep and fresh violet and raspberry aroma which can be applied as a high-quality flavour and fragrance to a variety of consumer products.
Insempra’s fermentation-based alpha-Ionone, initially developed by Phytowelt Green Technologies GmbH, is an EU-natural certified, vegan, food-grade ingredient. Insempra’s biotechnology platform capabilities combined with Axxence's market access ensures consistently high product quality for flavour and fragrance manufacturers.
"With the launch of this superior alpha-Ionone aroma, Insempra is demonstrating its unique approach to technology onboarding, scaling and rapid go-to-market capabilities in the delivery of the next generation of sustainable, biotechnologically produced functional ingredients,” says Insempra CEO and founder Jens Klein. With consumer demand rising for products with 100% natural ingredients that are healthy for humans as well as the planet, Insempra’s mission is to collaborate with nature to develop sustainable and scalable ingredient solutions for broad market applications.
The production of raspberry aroma by farming would require more than a hundred tonnes of raspberries, which translates to approximately 40 football fields of cultivated acreage – a highly unsustainable use of land that is equally disproportionate in its output. The alternatives to naturally derived alpha-Ionone are chemically manufactured aroma replicas which are currently broadly used in consumer goods. The trend towards natural ingredients is driving the biotechnological production of aromas which in this example could be done with just one production run on a small-scale fermenter compared to the exorbitant land use if extracted from nature.
Insempra has set up a cell-free system as a fast-screening platform to reconstruct the synthesis of numerous sustainable bioproducts. One of the major ways the company applies the cell-free systems is by cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS). In CFPS, the transcription and translation machinery are reconstructed in cell-free reactions. By introducing DNA bearing one or multiple genes of interest, Insempra is able to synthesise target proteins or enzymes within a few hours and characterise its functions immediately. This eliminates the time-consuming steps in conventional strain construction of cloning of a gene into a plasmid, transformation of the plasmid into a microbial cell, culturing and harvesting the cells and purifying the protein before assaying the protein function. This allows the company to compare the efficiency of single or combinations of enzymes and narrows down the number of designs before it constructs complex pathways in cells. The cell-free process decreases the time required to achieve desired process objectives.