The Chinese supplier has developed a water-soluble pomegranate ingredient it says has resolved "potential rancidity" issues to enable better shelf life and purity. Pomegranate peel contains high levels of punicaligan, a glycoside of ellagic acid, and which gives it a higher antioxidant content than the pomegranate fruit. Cactus spokesperson Michelle Banks said the ingredient was not particularly novel, as there were other pomegranate and other superfruit ingredients on the market that offered similar functionality, but its peel extraction gave it an antioxidant boost few could match. She said the ingredient was being aimed at the tablets, gels and one-shot drinks markets and would focus on North America with Europe in mind. It was already available in Cactus's booming home economy. "We are particularly excited about the drinkable version although we accept the dietary supplements market might be the bigger one to begin," Banks told NutraIngredients-USA.com. "This ingredient is highly flexible in formulation potential but is also well suited to the dietary supplements markets, especially high-dose antioxidant products seeking an all-natural ingredient." Banks said the ingredient would be marketed on its nutritional potential as well as its food safety performance. The company would not reveal the spot per kilo price of the ingredient but said it was competitive with its other fruit-based ingredients as well as other pomegranate extracts on the market. "As the market and understanding of the potential of pomegranate continues to grow, so too does the need for manufacturers to be able to utilize naturally derived antioxidants to stabilize their consumable products, for safety," said Carol Cheow, Cactus general manager. "The beauty of pomegranate is that it also has powerful health-promoting properties and studies that support its action in various conditions, plus it is also water soluble, giving it tremendous added value and advantage." Catcus-funded research published this year in Food Research International found that pomegranate peel extracts could stabilize sunflower oil. Different solvent methods were employed including methanol, ethanol, acetone, chloroform, ethyl acetate and water. "Pomegranate peel can be recommended as a potent source of antioxidants for the stabilization of food systems, especially unsaturated vegetable oils," the study authors wrote. Cactus set up in China in 2002 and has a range of fruit-based and other functional ingredients in its portfolio.