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Kemin enters ‘strategic partnership’ for naturally-sourced zeaxanthin

By Nathan Gray , 05-Jul-2012

Carotenoid player Kemin has announced the exclusive licensing of naturally-sourced zeaxanthin from marigolds.

The deal, struck with US-based Ball Horticultural Company and its subsidiary Chrysantis means the companies will enter into a strategic partnership, that includes an exclusive license to Kemin for Ball’s patent-protected marigold hybrids that contain high levels of zeaxanthin.

Kemin said the partnership will allow it to offer one of the few naturally-sourced, plant-based dietary forms of zeaxanthin available for all uses – including nutritional ingredient, functional food, and personal care applications.

Under the agreement, Ball and Chrysantis will also continue to develop new and improved patent-protected marigold hybrids that offer high levels of dietary zeaxanthin.

“A plant-based, dietary source of zeaxanthin from Chrysantis is a great strategic fit for Kemin,” said Jeff Flora, president of the human nutrition and health division of Kemin.

“Adding this new technology to our portfolio reinforces our continued commitment to provide quality, science-based ingredients with documented benefits for eye health and function, and overall nutrition.” 

Zeaxanthin and eye health

Lutein and zeaxanthin are nutrients found together in nature and naturally deposited as a protective layer in the macula, a small spot in the back of the eye responsible for central vision.

As we age, levels of the yellow pigments in the macula decrease naturally, thereby increasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The yellow color is due to the content of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.

These compounds are the only carotenoids capable of filtering the harmful blue light than can damage cells in the eye, the rods and the cones. Maintaining high levels of both carotenoids, and therefore the macular pigment, is suggested to be a valid approach to maintaining eye health and reducing the risk of AMD, with recent clinical research suggesting 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin daily can protects eyes, and improve visual function.

Manuel Pavon, general manager for Chrysantis said the firm is looking forward to the worldwide distribution approach that Kemin has planned for its dietary zeaxanthin. 

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