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Natural Flavors and Fragrances Plants and Micro-organisms: Our Factories of the Future The use of flavors and fragrances based on natural plant substances is a growing trend in the food industry. Food manufacturers will soon have access to a digital library detailing thousands of extracts. In a related development, businesses are using micro-organisms to synthesize flavors and fragrances. The first flavors and aromas made through fermentation are now on the market.

greenhouse-grown plants. Mur explains how this is done: “We use state-of-the-art technology to analyze which substances are present in commercially grown plants in the Netherlands. We store the data in a library of extracts. As of 2015, it contains information on almost 1,300 varieties of plants, including vegetables, fruit, flowers, bulbs and trees.

Although the food industry has always

tor of the Centre of Expertise for Plant

Together, the Centre of Expertise for Plant

made extensive use of natural ingredients, it

Compounds. “One plant contains, on aver-

Compounds and Wageningen University &

has not yet unlocked the vast potential

age, 30,000 substances. Just think of how

Research centre (Wageningen UR) collect

nature has to offer. Aromatic substances and

many varieties of plants there are. That

scientific information from literature and

other compounds naturally present in

means several hundred thousand substanc-

add this to the library. “In this way, we are

plants are of particular value to the food

es, many of which are extremely valuable to

creating a database full of unique informa-

industry. They can be derived directly from

the food industry too.”

tion about the substances present in plants,”

plants, but also synthesized by micro-

In 2011, the Centre of Expertise for Plant

says Mur. “We will make the database avail-

organisms in a fermentation process.

Compounds was set up to develop com-

able to the food industry in the fall of 2015.

mercial applications for plant-based sub-

I am convinced it will prove highly valuable

Library of Extracts

stances derived from Dutch greenhouse

to them. But the pharmaceutical and cos-

“Plant-based substances have enormous

crops. This knowledge institute identi-

metics industries will be able to benefit

potential,” says Leon Mur, Managing Direc-

fies and catalogues the potential uses of

from it too.”

There are three ways to benefit from plant-

tain not only fiber, but also sugar, protein

cient use of the compounds naturally present

based compounds, according to the Centre

and aromatic compounds. By extracting

in plants by growing fruit and vegetables

of Expertise for Plant Compounds. First of

these substances from the plant material,

that contain higher levels of a particular

all, greenhouse waste streams may contain

greenhouse growers can add value to their

compound and then selling these crops for

valuable compounds. At the end of the

crops. Their waste streams are a promising

consumption. The third way is to start

growing season, greenhouse growers are

source of new ingredients for the food,

growing specific crops for an industry which

left with huge amounts of green waste. All

pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.

can then extract the valuable compounds

these stems, stalks, leaves and roots con-

Secondly, growers could make more effi-

and use these as natural ingredients.

Plant-based Compounds


Profile for Holland Food Innovations 2014

Holland Food Innovations 3 (2015)  

Issue 3 (2015) of Holland Food Innovations.

Holland Food Innovations 3 (2015)  

Issue 3 (2015) of Holland Food Innovations.