Centre of Expertise for Plant Compounds: the Extract Library is operational!

Centre of Expertise for Plant Compounds

Email: info@plantenstoffen.nl

Off to a flying start with a remedy for tulips disease Fusarium

Leiden, December 14th 2015. Plants contain a wealth of useful substances. Yet we do not tap into this resource enough, because there is very little information available about these plant compounds. The Centre of Expertise for Plant Compounds aims to change this starting today with the launch of the Extract Library: a searchable library with plant extracts and the compounds they contain. The first success has already been achieved: a substance has been found in a crop grown in the Dutch horticulture, which can be used to treat the fungal disease Fusarium in tulips.

Incentive for the horticulture sector

So far, the huge diversity of useful substances in plants is scarcely being used. The Extract Library offers growers and refiners valuable information about the ‘hidden’ substances in the plants they grow. The numbers of compounds are enormous: some 30,000 different ingredients for each plant species. For the crops grown in the Dutch horticulture, this comes down to a total between 100,000 and 200,000 substances.

The structure and function of these plant compounds are still largely unknown. However, many of these plant compounds have potential for use in the pharmaceutical industry, agro-chemistry, in cosmetics, as colorants, fragrances and flavours, nutritional supplements or as additions to animal feed. With the knowledge that will come from the Extract Library, growers and breeders can develop into fully-fledged providers of these (and other) high-quality substances.

Even before the Extract Library became operational, already a substance has been found which can be effective against Fusarium. This is a persistent fungus that causes a lot of damage in the cultivation of tulips every year. Opportunities to commercially exploit this plant material are currently being explored.

Innovation through cross-sectoral partnerships

The Extract the Library is a cross-sectoral partnership where the horticulture sector cooperates on an international scale with other markets, business and science. With the Extract Library the Centre of Expertise for Plant Compounds has created a platform where these parties develop knowledge of plant materials and commit to innovation. By screening plant extracts and conducting research, substances will be found for new applications. Knowledge institutions benefit from the Extract Library by using extracts for applied and basic research. This will also result in new applications and innovation.

The importance of the Extract Library for the region South Holland was underlined by the presence of Adrie Bom-Lemstra, Deputy in the province of South Holland, during the launch of the Library. She was interviewed by Jan-Douwe Kroeske and stressed the importance of collaboration between sectors. Innovations like the Extract Library, she stated, are vital for the Dutch knowledge economy and particularly for the South Holland greenports, the horticulture clusters in the province. Encouraging innovation is an important goal of the greenports, which are highly internationally oriented. They will therefore play a central role in the development and exploitation of new applications for plant substances.

International attention

The Centre of Expertise for Plant Compounds has attracted international attention with the Extract Library. Cooperation with the French Cosmetic Valley, the ‘Sillicon Valley’ for cosmetics, is already on-going on the development of new cosmetic applications, such as fragrances. Other partnerships include the pharmaceutical industry and the food industry. Therefore, there needs to be no doubt as to the existence of the Extract Library. With active, international involvement of horticulture, business and knowledge institutes, the value of the Extract Library will soon become evident. It is expected that the Extract Library will develop as the driving force behind the development of new knowledge about plant compounds and of innovative applications of these substances.

 

 

More information

For more information, please contact:

Centre of Expertise for Plant Compounds
Leon Mur, Managing Director

Pompoenweg 9
2321 DK Leiden

E-mail: info@plantenstoffen.nl

The Extract Library: a searchable library of plant compounds and related extracts.