How Orius grows high-value natural ingredients

April 23, 2024                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Image: Orius)Authors: Élodie Rallo,  Niko Simos
Uncovering the hidden potential of plants
Throughout history, humans have acknowledged the amazing abilities of plants. We have admired them for their beauty, harnessed their chemical properties for medicinal purposes, well-being, and to enhance our appearance. Moreover plants have significantly shaped the course of humanity, while we incorporated them into our diets, transitioning us from hunter-gatherers to sedentary cultivators. However, this relationship between humans and plants has not been one-sided. Just as plants have influenced our development, we have also had a significant impact on them, domesticating and altering their natural evolution. Many domesticated plant species have lost for instance their natural seed dispersal mechanisms, becoming reliant on humans for propagation.Despite our longstanding relationship with plants, only a fraction of their potential has been explored. Out of the estimated 350,000 plant species known to us, a mere 15% have undergone phytochemical investigations, and only 6% have been subject to pharmacological research. This untapped potential within cosmetics, nutraceuticals, and pharmaceuticals presents vast opportunities for innovation and discovery : the advent of new medications, innovative cosmetic or new nutraceutical actives.
Challenges to existing supply chains
However, the journey to unlock the full potential of plants is not without its challenges. Nature’s variability and unpredictability remain pivotal factors. It can yield plants of exceptional or mediocre quality, depending on the criteria by which we assess them. The determining factor in plant quality? The criteria we select. Factors such as active compound concentration and molecular composition are crucial considerations for industries like cosmetics, nutraceuticals, and pharmaceuticals. Moreover, environmental factors, including heatwaves, droughts, and climate disruptions exacerbated by global climate change, pose significant risks to existing supply chains. An article in “The Lancet” highlighted that an increase of more than 2°C in the annual temperature compared to pre-industrial levels would significantly increase the risk of species extinction. The geographic ranges of approximately one-third of plant species are predicted to contract by more than 50%, causing serious disruptions in ecosystems globally. Additionally, the potential disruptions caused by various pollutants or geopolitical events underscore the fragility of the current supply chains.
Vertical Farming: a solution for sustainable production of natural ingredients ?
Amidst these challenges, vertical farming emerges as a promising solution for ensuring a secure and sustainable supply of plant-based ingredients for cosmetic, health and well-being industries. It provides a means to relocate plant production, offering on-demand, year-round guaranteed production. For strategic productions, such as medicines facing shortages, it will enhance supply chain resilience for essential pharmaceuticals. Additionally, vertical farming has the potential to significantly improve resource efficiency. Utilizing a closed system management of water and fertilizer, it ensures precise control of usage, thereby avoiding soil and water pollution. Moreover, it reduces water and fertilizer consumption by delivering precisely what the plant needs, precisely when it needs it.
Orius’s secret advantage: unleashing nature’s full potential
The founders of Orius foresaw the incredible advantages of vertical farming for high-value natural ingredients and were determined to push boundaries even further. They developed cutting-edge technology tailored to biological needs, reproducing the exact biome of all types of plants, whether tropical, temperate, rare or fragile. This innovative approach resulted in a remarkable increase in molecular yield, by factors in the hundreds compared to conventional agriculture.Pierre Jay, Founder & Managing Partner – Paul-Hector Oliver, Founder & CEO – Jérôme Velociter, Founder & Managing Partner With a steadfast commitment to minimizing inputs, they meticulously select every piece of technology to consume less energy, water or fertilizer. Their solution not only ensures security, top quality, and unparalleled environmental friendliness but also proves to be economically advantageous.However, Orius’ secret advantage lies in unlocking hidden mechanisms inherent in nature, resulting in ingredients highly concentrated with desired molecules or free from unwanted ones. Molecules used in drugs or cosmetics are often highly diluted in plants : manufacturers need to use large quantities of raw materials to produce minimal quantities of the desired molecule, leading to increased transportation, storage, and industrial capacity. By enhancing molecular concentration within the plant, Orius has significantly reduced the cost per ton of products. Furthermore, this heightened concentration will yield equivalent effects with reduced doses, enabling more effective combinations of other molecules and plants, elevating the product to new heights. Orius achieves impressive results, improving molecular concentration from 2 to 15 times the reference concentration from one plant to another. This outcome is not a matter of chance but rather the result of advanced knowledge in agronomy and biology, coupled with precise and rigorous research processes.Nonetheless, developing a cultivation solution in a laboratory is futile if it cannot be replicated under real conditions. This is where Orius excels: in translating research projects into industrial realities. Whether within the laboratory unit (Biomebox®) or the cultivation chamber (Biomecell), their technology maintains precision and reliability, with the Biomecell being adaptable to mechanization.
What is the next course of action for Orius?
Even though Orius has only been around for a little over two years, projects are already in full swing and Orius’s development is impressive. Several leaders in cosmetics, nutraceuticals, and beauty are collaborating with Orius to discover the bestsellers of tomorrow. They came to Orius with an ambition, a project, a difficult challenge to solve, and Orius will delve deeply and find the right solution to make that ambition a tangible reality. Orius is now stepping up its game in production capacity, building larger-scale plant production units to meet the needs of industries looking for high-performing natural ingredients.

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