Under the new agreement, the New Jersey-based distributor is set to represent Kaneka Q10 natural coenzyme Q10 for the food and beverage industries in the Eastern US. It has been said that CoQ10 has been slow to develop in the US by comparison to other markets internationally, so this deal is a further step towards bringing the benefits of the ingredient to consumers. CoQ10 has been studied for its role in cognitive health and heart health. It plays a vital role in the production of chemical energy in mitochondria - the cell's 'power plants' - by participating in the production of adenosince triphosphate (ATP), the body's co-called 'energy currency'. Kaneka claims its branded yeast fermented Q10 is the only CoQ10 ingredient manufactured in the US. It says that at both the Pasadena, Texas facility and its Takasago, Japan location, international food and pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) are strictly followed. "Kaneka is excited about working with PLT, and Kaneka will certainly benefit by leveraging PLT's long-term relationships with food and beverage companies," said Thomas Schrier, national sales manager of Kaneka. "PLT has an excellent technical and marketing staff, which will be crucial in launching Q10 into the food industry." Kaneka's Texas facility has been one of the addition to CoQ10 supply that has bridged the gap in demand. In 2002, there was a considerable drop in quantities available for export from Japan following an ease of regulations that caused the ingredient to be used in more locally sold products. This export shortage coincided with a scientific study presenting strong evidence CoQ10 could slow the progression of the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson's. As consumers clamored for supplements containing the antioxidant, formulators sought to meet this demand. But with new player cropping up, the price of CoQ10 has been dropping. Other Asian entrants to the North American CoQ10 market include Taiwanese company PharmEssentia, which has spent the last two years perfecting its own organic synthesis production process. It remains to be seen how Kaneka's Q10 will perform in the North American functional food market. "Kaneka is known for its commitment to science, reliability and quality," said PLT president Paul Flowerman. "Being in a position to offer Kaneka Q10 to our customers is exciting, and our food and beverage clients are enthusiastic to now have this premium, natural, self-affirmed GRAS CoQ10 product available for their healthful product lines."