DNA Plant Technology has formed Ingredient Technology Corp. with agroup of European investors to supply plant-derived chemicalingredients to the flavor and fragrance industries. DNAP will hold amajority interest in ITC..ITC, which will be headquartered in Perugia, Italy, is conductinglarge-scale field trials of proprietary lines of tobacco plantscontaining high levels of abienol and sclareol. Those chemicals areused to create ambrox, a compound which imparts a musk fragranceto products..Tobacco is a natural source of abienol and sclareol, but at levels toolow for commercial use. Using somaclonal variation technology,DNAP developed new lines of tobacco that produce the compounds at20 times the levels previously available..A patent has issued to DNAP for tobacco containing high levels ofsclareol, and the company has filed for patents on tobaccocontaining high levels of abienol..Sclareolide, the chemical precursor of ambrox, is currently derivedfrom Clary sage. Abienol can be used to produce ambrox at one-thirdthe cost, said David A. Evans, DNAP's vice president of businessdevelopment. Sclareol can also be used to product Ambrox at a lowercost..DNAP hopes to extend the concept to a number of differentcompounds that can be produced in whole plants. -- Karen Bernstein

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