The ingredient marketed as Bio-az contains a probiotic - bacillus subtilis, and prebiotic - soluble inulin, that remains viable even after high-temperature pasteurisation.
Marl Wellness is the R&D business unit focusing on the science and new product development, under parent company The Marl Group Corporation.
The company has a finished consumer goods brand called Biotica, which helps takes the science to the market.
Biotica is set to launch its first consumer product, a functional spring water containing Bio-az. The shelf-stable water will be available in Australia in Q1 2023.
On the win
Marl Wellness emerged as the winner of the Start-Up Award at the NutraIngredients-Asia Awards 2021.
Commenting on the win, Maryann Thexton, CEO at The Marl Group Corporation, said the start-up was delighted with the award, with judges acknowledging not only their innovation and scientific research, but also the strong commercialisation opportunities resulting from the research results.
“This award validates the passion, innovation and cutting-edge research of the Marl Wellness team and confirms that we are a start-up to watch in the health and wellness space.
“Following three years of extensive scientific analysis, we will soon be launching our first ingredient, Bio-az onto the market, the first synbiotic fortifying ingredient in the world that can retain its active potency without refrigeration,” Thexton said.
Watch the video to hear from Thexton on what the award means to them and how its Synbiotica technology works.
Bio-az is based on the Synbiotica ingredient INU R62 developed by the company, that allows prebiotics and probiotics to withstand the rigours of manufacturing processes to be shelf-stable and arrive alive in the human gut.
According to Thexton, “up until now, the consumer demand for shelf-stable foods with synbiotic benefits has been unmet.
“So many active ingredients are rendered useless by intensive manufacturing processes, which means that many companies struggle to preserve the effectiveness of their active ingredients.”
Thexton explained its synbiotica technology ,which was three years in the making: “We've got a unique blend of prebiotics and probiotics that together, remain dormant in the water in shelf stable conditions.”
“The microbes that we use are spores, and I think the industry understands that spores are generally more robust.
“Our microbes are a unique strain, they express unique genome sequencing, that enables them to survive really harsh processes such as high temperature pasteurisation. This eliminates all the microbial activity that you don't want, but it leaves our microbes in a dormant state in the product, alongside prebiotics which in theory, should activate our microbes and cause them to vegetate.”
Bio-az is available in a powdered format, which manufacturers can add into any product prior to pasteurisation.
The spring water finished product is said to be the world’s first shelf-stable symbiotic water. It contains 3g of fibre and a billion live probiotics per serving.
The company is working on licensing the brand and technology with bottlers in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
In Australia, the plan is to launch in retail outlets such as supermarkets and convenience stores, as well as offer an online D2C channel.
“The functional water market is growing rapidly, so we're going to put ourselves in the premium functional water market,” Thexton said.
While product commercialisation is one aspect of the business, for Marl, its priorities lie in developing new ingredients to offer the health benefits of synbiotics.
Thexton told us: “We're sticking to what we do best, which is the science. Rather than us ending up with lots of lines of product and supply chains to manage, we're working with companies like Doehler to develop products in the baked goods, dried foods, and oral care space.”
Doehler is a provider of ingredients and applications for the food and beverage industry.
In the research space, Marl Wellness have ongoing collaborations with Sydney University, and an Australian biotechnology company called Custer Biotech.
“We're working on developing other microbes that can be used in the food processing needed for ambient foods, and also some innovative encapsulation techniques that have never been done before.”
“That will enable us to offer manufacturers in the FMCG industry, a much wider range of probiotics, post-biotics, and prebiotics that they can use as ingredients to offer health benefits to their customers,” Thexton said.