top of page

In The News: phytoreplicators are cloning biomass for beauty, Lemon Myrtle gaining popularity, NewBeauty to recognize emerging brands

Aplantex picks up funding for proprietary biotech, Australia-based ingredient supplier NAP sees new demand for Lemon Myrtle leaf extract, NB100 initiative will discover and promo impactful beauty brands

Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash

🧪💋🌱molecular cloning

This month, Canada-based ingredient startup Aplantex closed a second round of financing, bringing in $3.3m to grow the venture.


Aplantex uses biotechnology to produce molecules of value to the agri-food, pharma, and cosmetics industries. For beauty makers, the company is focused on bioactive antioxidants, anti-inflamatory, antimicrobial, and anti-aging ingredients.


The company, founded in 2019, is positioning their technology as a greener alternative to not only agriculture but also conventional chemical synthesis and contemporary fermentation-based biotech. One advantage they point to is that the production process, as described on the company site, includes the “loop reuse of multiple inputs, and use of renewable energy.”


What Aplantex does is leverage the DNA of select plants to clone the biomass of these plants. Just as a reminder, biomass is a plant’s organic material, containing stored solar energy. This cloning is done using the company’s proprietary photosynthetic plant replicators (which the company also calls phytoreplicators).


These plant replicators are a series of vertically stacked trays where the DNA plant medium is fed hydroponically with “a precisely metered nutritional solution” and LED lighting, according to the Aplantex site. The biomass is automatically harvested on a daily schedule and then freeze dried. It next goes through both a subcritical and supercritical fractionation, followed by purification.


Aplantex’ value proposition relies fully on this specialized biomass cloning technology, which is why the company brought in legal counsel nearly a year ago to safeguard the tech: “We immediately understood the full significance of [these] innovations and their potential benefits for the health and well-being of people all over the world,” George Elvira, Partner and Patent Agent at Gowling WLG told the press last May, adding that the “innovations deserve to be well-protected….”


The ingredient startup reports seeing an interest in its ingredients from beauty makers here in North America and is moving toward commercialization. This latest multimillion dollar funding round will be used to up the volume of production at the Aplantex R&D center in Boucherville, northeast of Montreal.


🍋💋 alternative citrus

Trends are visible in every sector of beauty, which is why when suppliers tell me that demand is picking up for a particular ingredient, I get curious.


Already this year, the team at Naturally Australian Products (NAP) is seeing a lift in demand for Lemon Myrtle from brands and manufacturers in both food and beauty.


“More and more, US brands are looking abroad to source unique alternative ingredients for new points of difference,” according to Robyn Ingersole, CEO of NAP. “Lemon Myrtle offers more than a new backstory and fresh imagery. It has a powerful range of constituents, offering a rich aroma and potent antioxidant activity, due to having the highest citral content of any citrus!” as noted in the press release calling attention to the increasing interest in Lemon Myrtle essential oil (sourced from the leaf of this native Australian shrub).


The fragrant ingredient has not only antioxidant properties, but also characteristics that make it antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal. In some product formulations, it’s also being used as an aromatic mood booster.


👀💋 “innovative and impactful new brands”

At the start of the year, NewBeauty launched the NB100 to identify and amplify emerging brands.


“The NB100 initiative is not only about recognition,” notes Mike Glaicar, CEO of NewBeauty, “it’s a driving force for the future of beauty,” he says in February’s media release. “We are dedicated to discovering and promoting innovative brands. By providing a platform for these brands to showcase their strengths, we demonstrate our commitment to growth, creativity, and the unique stories each brand has to tell.”


To be considered for this year’s inaugural NB100, brands must have been founded after January 1, 2018, and demonstrate, “a unique brand identity, a meaningful value proposition, dedication to quality, consistent investment in product development, a proven track record of growth, a strong consumer following, a commitment to their community, and exceptional leadership.”


Applications are open through the end of March.


Looking for more cosmetics industry news & commentary?

Subscribe to the Beauty Insights newsletter today!


bottom of page