Bio-materials company Nanollose Limited (ASX:NC6) has filed a new provisional patent application with IP Australia, adding to its growing portfolio of intellectual property.
The application, entitled “Method for Dewatering Microbial Cellulose” covers the production process for a readily rehydratable dry formulation of Nanollose’s Jelli Grow soil-less seed raising medium.
The ability to dry and then rehydrate the microbial cellulose represents a major advancement over the Company’s previous Jelli Grow formulation and was developed in response to feedback from prospective customers.
A key attribute of the novel methodology for drying microbial cellulose is that it prevents hornification (the hardening of cellulose upon drying). The new dehydrated formulation has a significant advantage over the previous wet formulation, in that it dramatically reduces the cost and complexity of shipping, storage and handling.
The technology allows end users to regenerate the medium simply by adding water upon receipt of the dehydrated formulation, which simplifies the shipping process and overcomes a key barrier to commercial uptake.
While this technology was initially developed to provide a dehydrated formulation of Jelli Grow, the company believes it has wider application in other products and processes involving microbial cellulose.
Executive Chairman, Dr Wayne Best, said whilst the company’s core Nullarbor fibre technology remains the primary business focus of the Board and management team, this new large addressable horticultural market presents the Company with the opportunity to pursue several additional revenue channels with potential commercial significance.
Dr Best said the R&D breakthrough with Jelli Grow follows the recent transition of the Nullarbor technology from the laboratory to the pilot phase, which in turn has facilitated an internal reallocation of R&D resources towards the development of Nanollose’s other applications for microbial cellulose, including Jelli Grow and vegan leather.
Following the filing of the patent, Nanollose can now begin the commercialisation process for its upgraded Jelli Grow soil-less seed germination platform. The Company will work with its microbial cellulose supply partner, Hainan Guangyu Biotechnology, to produce a pilot batch of the new Jelli Grow formulation.
The primary aim of the pilot production run will be to optimise the process for commercial-scale manufacture. As a by-product of the production process, it will also generate test material for distribution to potential customers for testing under commercial conditions across various horticulture applications.
In anticipation of commercialisation, Nanollose has recently extended its trademark protection around Jelli GrowTM which is now granted in Australia, New Zealand, China, the EU, the UK, and pending in Singapore, Japan, Canada and the US.
The company anticipates filing the application in numerous other jurisdictions in due course through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
We are delighted with the outcome of this R&D project, which marks a major breakthrough with respect to the commercial application of Jelli Grow,” Dr Best said.
“In addition to a greatly improved product, it has delivered a valuable methodology for drying microbial cellulose and preventing hornification, which has many other potential applications. This is a significant development for the business and solves a key pain point for the scaled rollout of microbial cellulose manufacturing operations for a number of applications. In that context, the patent application marks an important step for the business to enhance our intellectual property portfolio. We’re excited to work with Hainan Guangyu Biotechnology to commercialise the technology and look forward to providing more market updates as it unfolds.”