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Innovation & new products

BGene produces wood-based fragrant molecules for the perfume industry

The BGene start-up uses micro-organism cell machinery to produce molecules with a high added value for the cosmetics and perfume industry, based on a renewable, non-food resource: wood. The objective is to replace costly, polluting methods with an environmentally friendly technology that can be integrated to the circular economy.

Marie-Gabrielle Jouan, President of BGene

Marie-Gabrielle Jouan, President of BGene

Initially a micro-organism specialist, the BGene company chose to turn towards wood joint products to launch a new molecule production solution. “We identify in nature itself the bacterium that can transform wood molecules into the molecule the customer expects,” sums up Marie-Gabrielle Jouan, President of BGene.

A wide array of molecules

The metabolism of micro-organisms or bacteria helps them assimilate carbon to multiply and/or produce. It is a fermentation process of the bacterium. “Our bacterial system shelters the enzymes that can make wood carbon accessible to it and transform it to multiply, but also to produce molecules of interest, in particular aroma and fragrance precursors,” explains the scientist.

This solution is possible for a multitude of different molecules: each molecule has its own solution. Some bacteria can produce several molecules or families of molecules.

Natural origin

This almost unique biotechnology associated with wood is aimed at meeting the naturalness expectations of players in the perfume and cosmetics industry. “Today, this naturalness is recognized due to carbon dosage. We actually do biotechnological synthesis: 100% of our carbons are natural, since they are derived from wood,” confirms Marie-Gabrielle Jouan.

Above all, this disruptive sourcing innovation offsets the high cost of natural plant extraction and ensures production continuity. “In the perfume sector, you need to grow plants in fields to get an odorous molecule, but these are fields that could be used for cultivating food. Extraction itself is very polluting and little profitable. Besides, production is subject to climatic variations, so resources can fluctuate, and so can prices.

The bacterial system used by BGene shelters the enzymes that can make wood carbon accessible to it and transform it.

The bacterial system used by BGene shelters the enzymes that can make wood carbon accessible to it and transform it.

Already in touch with the main industry players seduced by this innovation, BGene, a company that counts 14 employees, 80% of whom are scientists, satisfies customer demand, but they have also been developing their own ingredient family in the field of aromas and perfumes.

The 2017 fundraising campaign should help accelerate the new product launch.

Kristel Milet

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