Production of natural and sustainable macrocyclic musk lactones from natural substrates

a row of test tubes on a wooden rack containg plants and flowers
a row of test tubes on a wooden rack containg plants and flowers

Source: stock adobe

Conagen announced ealiers this year a breakthrough development in the commercial production of natural and sustainable macrocyclic musk lactones from natural substrates using its proprietary technology, further expanding its already extensive gamma-lactone portfolio.Musk fragrance compounds are typically used as base note ingredients in perfumes. The natural sources of these compounds are found in glandular secretions of animals, such as musk deer and some plants. In low concentrations, musks are expansive, velvety, sensual and sweet. However, the fragrance industry overall has moved away from animal sources, and plant sources are scarce. Currently, chemically synthesized substitutes with similar scents are available for use. The company successfully bridged its gamma-lactone production technology with its lipid platform to expand its lactone portfolio to natural musk scent macrocyclic lactones.

Expansion of lactone platform

Built upon the diversity of structures among natural lipids, the company’s macrocyclic musk portfolio contains diverse compounds representing a range of familiar and novel aromas, many of which have never before been commercially available. This variety of characteristics creates a wider spectrum of fragrance application options for manufacturers that use musk macrocyclic lactones in their products. “The expansion of our lactone platform to macrocyclic lactones with musk fragrances adds to our momentum in meeting consumers’ demand for nature-based, clean ingredients,” said Dr. Casey Lippmeier, VP of innovation. “We have found new ways to make various classes of natural lactones. I am excited by the new prospects our musk lactones bring as they have grown rapidly from a proof-of-concept technology to commercial production. Expect many more innovative, natural lactones coming from our technology,” said Dr. Lippmeier.

For the last 10 years, the company has successfully developed one of the largest portfolios of ingredient products for its customers, including science-based Blue California ingredients. “The technology breakthrough is impressive on its own, but equally so is the speed at which Conagen was able to take musk from idea to scaleup – five short months. That’s the partner you want to have in these competitive markets,” said Kathy Oglesby, head of flavor and fragrance at Blue California.

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