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For a year already, Northern Europe’s leading cosmetic and medicinal plant farming experts SIA “Field and Forest” have been cooperating with the researchers of Institute for Environmental Solutions and natural cosmetics raw material producer SIA “Alternative plants”. The aim is to use secondary products derived from a production process for developing new value-added products for cosmetics industry.   

High amounts of by-products are generated while processing medicinal and aromatic plants. SIA “Field and Forest” and “Alternative plants” have turned to IES researchers in order to estimate what active ingredients and in what concentrations can be found in these by-products. Additionally, the best extracting methods for these ingredients are determined. During this research, SIA “Alternative Plants” is not only a supplier of plant tissue cultivation (in vitro) by-products. The company has a great deal of experience in producing natural cosmetics ingredients. Therefore, researchers of SIA “Alternative plants” carry out the analysis of newly acquired extracts – safety tests and effect evaluation on human skin cells.  

Researchers of SIA “Alternative Plants” Anna Ramata-Stunda and Mārtiņš Borodušķis reveal the course of study and present the first results.  

SIA “Alternative Plants” researchers Anna Ramata-Stunda un Mārtiņš Borudušķis. Photo: Institute for Environmental Solutions.

SIA “Alternative Plants” researchers Anna Ramata-Stunda un Mārtiņš Borodušķis. Photo: Institute for Environmental Solutions.

Plant cultivation in vitro – what does it mean? And why do you use this technology for cosmetic ingredient production? 

Mārtiņš Borodušķis (M.B.): In vitro or plant cell cultivation is a technology for growing plant biomass. With the help of this technology, we obtain the ingredients cosmetic industry is interested in without growing the plant. All stages of the process take place in the laboratory. The first step is collecting the plants or specific parts of the plant. Then, we derive stem cells from the plant and use the cells to grow biomass. The biggest advantage of the method is the concentration of active ingredient in the plant biomass being considerably higher than concentration in the same plant grown in nature. In the laboratory, we can provide controlled environment – ruling out the influence of seasonal change, weather and external pollution. 

Stem cells or undifferentiated cell biomass (derived from a leaf of the plant) on a solid media. That is the initial stage, after which the volume of the biomass can be multiplied.  Photo: Odrija Heinrihsone

Stem cells or undifferentiated cell biomass (derived from a leaf of the plant) on a solid media. That is the initial stage, after which the volume of the biomass can be multiplied. Photo: Odrija Heinrihsone

Why does SIA “Alternative Plants” participate in this research? 

Anna Ramata-Stunda (A.R.S.): We have always emphasized that we aim to work efficiently and responsibly towards natural resources. To produce cosmetic ingredients, we cultivate plant biomass and extract specific active ingredients. The remaining biomass still holds large concentrations of active compounds. We understood that by cooperating with IES researchers, we could develop new products from it – therefore making the production process two times more efficient! 

The production of plant cell biomass. Photo: Odrija Heinrihsone

The production of plant cell biomass. Photo: Odrija Heinrihsone

What is the potential use of the extracts and active compounds, derived from the SIA “Field and Forest” essential oil production and SIA “Alternative Plants” plant cell biomass cultivation by-products? 

A.R.S.: During the research, we assess chamomile (Matricaria) essential oil and by-products of three medicinal plants’ (Northern dragonhead (Dracocephalum), gooseberry (Ribes) and juniper (Juniperus)) biomass cultivation process. From each of the by-products’ group IES researchers derive extracts. During the extraction process, researchers experiment with different reagents, temperatures and other variables. As the result, we obtain extracts with diverse active compounds in varying concentrations. We evaluate how these extracts react on human skin cells. This way we determine where the extracts could potentially be used and what cosmetic ingredient prototypes could be created.  

How do you determine the cosmetic properties of the extracts and active ingredients, derived from the assessed by-product groups? 

A.R.S.: We use biochemical tests on skin cell cultures. We evaluate how the extracts perform, determine whether they protect from UV exposure, stimulate skin cell division or boost collagen production. We also evaluate antimicrobial activity – whether the extract can suppress bacterial growth. Another important factor we estimate is the anti-inflammatory effect, which can prevent skin ageing and UV exposure induced inflammation. As we test the extracts, we try to identify their potential uses in cosmetic ingredient production industry.  

M.B.: Not only it is important to understand how the product works but also whether it’s safe. That’s why safety tests are always the first step. We assess the impact of the extracts on human skin cells, whether the extracts are safe and what is their biological activity. We also determine what are the most appropriate extract concentrations and how do extracts react when exposed to UV radiation. Hogweed (Heracleum) is a great example – if the sap contacts the skin in the dark, skin cells are not affected. But as soon as the skin is exposed to sun, chemical burn occurs.  

What are the results of the first active compound safety and impact tests on human skin cells? 

M.B.: Currently we test safety and antibacterial properties. We’ve obtained the first results but there is still testing under way. After we’ll find out which extracts are safe for skin cells, we will start tests on effectivity and functionality. 

A.R.S.: We see it is possible to obtain extracts from the by-product biomass with an interesting chemical content. We have detected high concentrations of active ingredients that could be useful in production of skin-protecting and renewing natural cosmetics. 

What experience does SIA “Alternative Plants” in cosmetic product development? 

A.R.S.: We cooperate with several natural cosmetics producers. One of the most renowned – A/S “Madara cosmetics”. Currently we are still a relatively small company. Our ingredient deliveries can be measured in kilograms, usually around 10 kilograms per client. At the same time, our ingredients account for 0,5–2% of the end product’s total composition. Therefore, our clients can produce rather large amounts or product using our ingredients. 

M.B.: While our ingredients make up just a small share of the product, these ingredients are part of what ensures the effectiveness of it.

Research “A biorefinery approach for the development of bioactive cosmetic ingredients from by-products of medicinal plant processing and plant cell cultivation” (1.1.1.1/19/A/075) is developed as a part of the European Regional Development Fund programme 1 .1.1.1 measure “Support for applied research” and specific objective 1.1.1 “Improve research and innovation capacity and the ability of Latvian research institutions to attract external funding, by investing in human capital and infrastructure” 

More about the project here.

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Organic farming experts SIA “Field and Forest” in cooperation with researchers from Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES) develops innovative technologies for growing ginseng and Chinese horseradish in Latvia’s climate conditions. The knowledge acquired in this research will be used by tea producers to develop new value-added products.

Ginseng (Panax sp.) and Chinese horseradish (Angelica sinensis) are two medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) with a high demand in the world market. At the same time, these plants mostly have been harvested in wild. To reduce pressure on wild populations, as well as ensure sufficient amount of high-quality plant-based materials for different industries, IES’s researchers in cooperation with organic farming experts SIA “Field and Forest” develop suitable methods for commercial cultivation.

For the last four years researchers have gained valuable knowledge to pass on to the entrepreneurs. Leading researcher Dr Arta Kronberga explains the importance of research results: “By following cultivation guidelines that we are developing within this research, entrepreneurs can obtain raw material with stable quality. Thus, enabling them to develop new business niches and products with high-demand in the world market.”

Medicinal and aromatic plant adaptation for commercial cultivation is a highly developed research direction in the Institute for Environmental Solutions. Both Ginseng and Chinese horseradish are perennial plants. The most valuable part of these plants is root, and it takes at least 4 years to mature. Therefore, during this time researchers are not able to assess how different growing conditions impact the harvest. To evaluate how different growing conditions impact plant development and yield researchers experiment with multiple cultivation methods in many small fields. For example, ginseng is growing in forest ecosystem and field conditions under specially designed shadowing construction. Researchers also experiment with seed preparation and germination, planting, maintaining and soil treatment methods. After harvesting, researchers will be able to compare the results in each of the trials by selecting the most successful cultivation approaches.

Growing methods can directly impact the active compound concentration of the yield. Although harvesting of ginseng is planned only in autumn 2021, the IES’s chemical laboratory has carried out a first chemical composition analysis of its samples. Dr Arta Kronberga highlights: “final chemical composition tests are planned for autumn, but first results show high concentration of valuable active compounds. These results ensures that ginseng grown in Latvia’s climate conditions is suitable as a plant-based material for tea production industry.”

The chemical composition analysis results give an important information to the tea producers SIA “Bargi” – that not only the taste of the tea have a high quality, but its medicinal value as well. Until now, for the tea product prototype development SIA “Bargi” have used raw materials of ginseng and Chinese horseradish that are available in the world market. It is concluded that the quality of these plant materials differs. For example, not all the samples contain the minimal concentration levels of active compounds that are listed in European pharmacopoeia (reference work for the quality control of medicines).

Dr Arta Kronberga explains why raw plant material from IES’s experimental fields are more suitable for tea product development: “Within this research, we have developed growing technologies that allows to achieve plant potential – maximum concentration of active compounds. Thus, allowing tea producers to develop products with stable quality.”

Innovative methods for cultivation of ginseng and Chinese horseradish is developed as a part of the project “Development of innovative technologies for cultivation and food production of ginseng (Panax spp.) and Chinese horseradish (Angelica sinensis)” No.  17-00-A01620-000008, which is supported by EU European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, Rural Development Programme.

More about the project here.
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For more than two years, the Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES) has been studying how to adapt wild medicinal and aromatic plants for organic farming. The knowledge acquired in this research will be evaluated by a certified organic farming experts SIA “Field and Forest” to understand which plant species are suitable for new high value-added product development.


Leading researcher Dr Arta Kronberga highlights: “we have adapted   cultivation technologies for each of the plant species to obtain the highest yield with the best quality. As a result, we will gain the knowledge to pass on to entrepreneurs and they will be able to make practical decisions for development of new business niches.”


At the beginning of the research, IES’s scientists chose 9 wild medicinal and aromatic plant species that are already highly demanded in the global market- cowslip (Primula veris), woodruff (Galium odoratum), mezereon (Daphne mezereum), coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), pasqueflower (Pulsatilla pratensis), lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea), greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) and lady’s mantle (Alchemilla spp). These plants can supply valuable raw materials for the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food industries.

Despite the widely known good characteristics of these plants, there is a lack of knowledge how to grow them for commercial needs. To develop new high value-added products with export potential, entrepreneurs and farmers need research-based information about the suitable plant cultivation methods, as well as the composition of valuable active substances that these plants contain. Therefore, building co-operations between scientists, entrepreneurs and farmers are needed. Over the past few years, the Institute for Environmental Solutions has conducted a number of studies to unlock the knowledge bout medicinal plants and their commercialization potential.

In this study, IES’s researchers have looked in depth at each phase of the plant’s development. Thus, complete information on the advantages and disadvantages of each plant species is available. Dr Arta Kronberga describes the research: “we have evaluated each phase of the plant’s development processes – collection of wild populations, seed germination, growing in field conditions, harvesting and evaluation of chemical compound levels in the yield. Considering the growing demand for medicinal plants and other biological raw materials, such knowledge can become an important equity for development of future business lines.”


Seed germination evaluation for selected medicinal and aromatic plants
Fast and even sprouting is one of the main prerequisites for growing MAPs for commercial use. During the sprouting, a plant must outcompete its rivals – weeds. Higher competitiveness of a plant means better germination rate, higher production, and yield. In order to develop the best seed sprouting technology for each species, researchers have tested a variety of sprouting environments, such as climate chamber and greenhouses.

Growing tests in field conditions
For these tests IES’s researchers developed plant-growing experimental fields in which they modelled commercial growing conditions. Thus, researchers can evaluate which growing methods are the most suitable for each of the plant species. Researchers evaluated the speed of plant development, how easy it is to harvest the yield by using agricultural machinery and how to apply organic fertiliser. Researchers have also assessed such details of growing conditions as the distance between plants in rows. Distance between plants has a significant impact on the plant competitiveness with weeds. The difference can be seen in the plant development, for example, if pasqueflower is planted close to each other the competitiveness with weeds is much higher. As a result, these plants are few centimetres higher than those that are planted with larger gaps. Summer of 2021 is the closing season for growing tests in experimental fields. Researchers carry out harvesting of medical plants from field trials and further assess the results.

Assessment of the plant chemical composition
Samples from growing tests in experimental fields IES’s researchers pass on to Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis experts who evaluate the active compound concentration. These tests will provide an insight into which active substances can be found in these plants and how valuable are each of the species. Dr Arta Kronberga explains first results of chemical composition assessment: “chemical composition tests are still ongoing, but we have received first results. We can see that wild plant species that are grown in experimental fields show unique results. For example, together with Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis experts we have discovered that valuable active compounds can be found in greater celandine. So far, it has not been mentioned in the scientific literature.”


Last vegetation season is carried out in experimental growing fields. IES’s researchers continue the harvest and sample gathering for active compound concentration tests. At the same time, the study is coming to an end and scientists are working on gathering the acquired knowledge.

The research is a part of the project “Innovative solutions for growing technologies and applications of spring medicinal and aromatic plants” (Nr. 1.1.1.1/18/A/043). It is supported by European Regional Development Fund, as a part of Measure 1.1.1.1 “Industry-Driven Research” of specific objective 1.1.1 “To increase the research and innovation capacity of scientific institutions of Latvia and their ability to attract external funding by investing in human resources and infrastructure”.
Read more about the research here.
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SIA “Field and Forest” entrepreneurs in cooperation with researchers from the Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES)  develops zero waste technologies for medicinal and aromatic plant processing. Technologies will be used for the development of a new high value-added product – organic insect repellent.

Organic farming experts and essential oil manufacturers SIA “Field and Forest” in the production process generate a large amount of by-products. Entrepreneurs and IES’s researchers cooperate in order to eliminate waste across the entire production value chain. IES’s researcher Laura Pastare highlights: “manufacturers, which use natural resources should use everything that they have taken from nature. If there is a large amount of plant material by-products, we have to look for ways to use it further. It is a sustainable approach that is based on circular economy principles.”

SIA “Field and Forest” is one of the largest medicinal and aromatic plant growers in Northern Europe. Highest quality plants are used as raw material for food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. Dried plant biomass is used to produce medicinal and aromatic plant essential oils and hydrosol. Three plants were selected for this research that produce the largest volume of by-products – chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla), caraway (Carum carvi) and pine (Pinus sylvestris).

Both entrepreneur and IES’s researchers saw a high potential in steam distillation process by-products. Laura Pastare describes why these by-products were chosen for organic insect repellent development: “although these are production by-products, plant biomass still contains high concentration of valuable active substances. Within this research, we are developing new extraction technologies. Therefore, waste can be reused – obtained extracts are a base for new product development.”

Chamomile is harvested in summer, therefore during the last research period (summer 2021) IES’s researchers have looked in depth at chamomile production by-products. Until now, the development of extraction technologies has been carried out in small quantities at 15-litre distillation plants. Researchers are experimenting to understand how to obtain extracts with the highest active compound concentration. Different distillation factors are tested – water and plant biomass ratio, temperature, and length of the process.

The quality of the extracts obtained from experiments are evaluated in IES’s chemical analysis laboratory. These tests provide an insight into how different extraction experiments impact the quality – which active substances can be found in these extracts and how high is the concentration. Results show that extracts contain a high concentration of biologically valuable active compounds.

Extraction experiments are ongoing. Technologies that showcased the best results in chemical analysis will be transferred to industrial-scale essential oil distilling plants. This is necessary to compare differences in obtained results – does extracting in industrial quantities showcase the same quality of chemical composition as in small scale extraction. Industrial scale trials also give an opportunity to assess the economic aspects of extraction and production processes. Laura Pastare explains: “Entrepreneurs need information not only about the concentration of active substances, but also the economic basis of extraction and processing.”

Next step of this research is the evaluation of obtained extracts to determine the effects on insects and plants. IES’s researcher Kristīne Berķe-Ļubinska: “there are currently no widely available substances on the global market for plant protection that are registered as insect repellents suitable for organic farming. Our task within this research is to evaluate how obtained extracts change behaviour of insects. These tests will be done in IES’s entomology laboratory. We are looking for extracts that repel insects from the plants.”

The research is a part of the project “Essential oil distillation waste streams as a potential source of sustainable plant-based repellent products” (No. Nr. 1.1.1.1/20/A/096). It is developed as a part of the European Regional Development Fund programme 1.1.1.1 measure “Support for applied research” and specific objective 1.1.1 “Improve research and innovation capacity and the ability of Latvian research institutions to attract external funding, by investing in human capital and infrastructure”.

More about the project here.
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Endangered plant species, such as Siberian ginseng, common yew and sea holly is a rich source of bioactive compounds needed in production of pharmaceuticals. In the laboratory of chemistry, researchers from the Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES) assess the chemical composition and possibilities for further use of these plants.

Endangered plant species with a high market potential were selected for this research – Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus Maxim.), common yew (Taxus baccata L.) and sea holly (Eryngium maritimum L.). They are also known for the long seed germination period that makes it difficult to grow them for commercial purposes. Therefore, IES’s researchers develop efficient and economically viable plant tissue propagation methods that can be applied for organic farming. Using this micro-propagation method new plantlets are grown in laboratory test tubes. Thus, helping to avoid the long seed germination that usually may take up to 18 months.

“The changes in plant chemical composition correlate with different plant propagation methods and their growing conditions. For example, wild Siberian ginseng is common in Russia and China. It is possible to cultivate this plant in other territories, however there might be significant changes in the plant’s chemical composition and concentrations of valuable active compounds. Therefore, in this research we are analysing not only three different plant species, but also different populations within the same species,” IES’s leading researcher Dr Ieva Mežaka highlights potential changes in plant active compound levels.

IES’s researchers were dedicated to find out which populations are rich source of highly valuable bioactive compounds. Therefore, they analysed all three plant species in chemical laboratory.  “We can see that all three plant species have populations with valuable active compounds. The difference is the concentration. Most interesting ones are those that contain higher levels,” Dr Ilva Nakurte, IES’s leading researcher and manager of laboratory of chemistry describes the importance of chemical analysis.

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus Maxim.)

For chemical analysis of Siberian ginseng, researchers used leaves and roots of this species wild populations. They found two highly valuable compounds in the researched ginseng populations – eleuteroside B and eleuteroside E. The founded compounds are listed in European Pharmacopoeia (common standards for the quality of medicines and their components) with a real use in pharmaceutical industry. “In the previous researches, these active compounds have been found mainly in roots of Siberian ginseng. Our research results show that they are present in plant leaves as well,” Dr Ilva Nakurte describes results of ginseng chemical analysis.

Common yew (Eryngium maritimum L.)

For common yew chemical analysis, researchers used different parts of the plant – leaves, twigs and combination of both. Previous researches show that most valuable active compounds of Common yew are taxanes and their derivatives. IES’s researchers have extracted 20 different taxane derivatives. Most valuable is paclitaxel, which is commonly used in pharmaceutical industry as a treatment for different cancer forms.

Sea holly (Eryngium maritimum L.)

Chemical analysis has also been carried out on wild sea holly samples harvested in Latvia and Estonia. In total, more than 100 different valuable compounds have been derived from them. At the same time, IES’s researchers have found that there is significant variability in concentrations of active compound levels in different sea holly populations.

Researchers have also analysed sea holly samples that are grown in laboratory test tubes. Other research papers describe sea holly roots and leaves as the most valuable source of active compounds. “Roots and leaves of the plants that have been grown in test tubes are relatively small, but we were able to do the analysis. We see that concentrations of active compounds in them are quite high. We have identified 7 to 10 active compounds with potential use in pharmaceutical, cosmetology, and food industries,” Dr. Ilva Nakurte describes research results.

By assessing bioactive compound levels in plant samples, especially those that are grown in laboratory, researchers can evaluate most valuable populations of the three species. Thus, they know which samples are suitable for further research – growing condition research in experimental fields. Bioactive compound level analysis in plants will continue throughout the research to assess the changes in plant development process. As a result, it will contribute to finding efficient and economically viable methods for growing Siberian ginseng, common yew and sea holly in organic farming.

The research on plant tissue culture application for commercial propagation of endangered medicinal plants is developed as a part of the European Regional Development Fund programme 1.1.1 “Improve research and innovation capacity and the ability of Latvian research institutions to attract external funding, by investing in human capital and infrastructure” 1.1.1.1. measure “Support for applied research”, No. 1.1.1.1/19/A/083.

More about the project here.
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On 31 May 2021, the joint project of the Latvian organic farming company SIA “Field and Forest” and the largest Estonian household chemical production company “Mayeri Industries” AS on the development of new liquid household cleaning and personal hygiene products was completed. As a result, four prototypes and experimental batches of new products have been created – liquid soap, all-purpose cleaner, fabric softener and dishwashing detergent, based on plant water as a natural fragrance.

 



Given the impact of climate change and land management practices on the environment and natural resources, as well as on human health and quality of life, there is a growing societal demand for natural, locally sourced products. The newly created products use herbal water produced by SIA Field and Forest, which is obtained from local plants – chamomile, peppermint, pine and spruce. This project is an important step in building and strengthening cooperation between the partners, bringing new knowledge, expanded network, greater cross-border cooperation capabilities and a deeper understanding of the Estonian and Latvian markets and business culture. Development of new liquid cleaning and personal hygiene products based on herbal water as a natural fragrance was co-funded by the Interreg V-A Estonia-Latvia Cross Border Cooperation Program (project identification number EST-LAT 128, Herbal Waters).





This article reflects the views of the author. The managing authority of the Interreg V-A Estonia – Latvia programme is not liable for how this information may be used.  About the companies Mayeri Industries is the largest manufacturer of washing and cleaning products in the Baltic States. The target market for our products is the Nordic region. We believe that the washing and cleaning products can be produced without affecting the natural environment negatively. Mayeri Industries AS has the biggest laundry washing product portfolio with EU Ecolabel in Europe.



SIA “Field and Forest” is a certified organic agriculture company operating since 2005. It cultivates, harvests and processes organic crops, medicinal and aromatic plants. SIA “Field and Forest” is one of the largest organic chamomile growers and producers in the Eastern Europe. The company’s research activities are aimed at increasing genetic diversity of medicinal and aromatic plants, development of new plant cultivation methods and added-value products, and collection of traditional knowledge through ethnobotanical expeditions.
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Researchers from the Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES) found that by-products from the medicinal chamomile (Matricaria recutita) essential oil distillation processes are a rich source for the production of cosmetics for skin regeneration and protection.



IES’s chemical laboratory’s analysis shows that herbal waste remaining from the medicinal chamomile essential oil distillation processes is a rich source of highly valuable bioactive compounds. IES’s scientists analysed medicinal chamomile essential oil extraction by-products provided by organic farming company SIA “Field and Forest”. Similar tests were done on SIA “Alternative Plants” company’s cosmetic production by-products from three plants – dragonhead (Dracocephalum), European gooseberry (Ribes) and Juniper (Juniperus).


IES’s leading researcher and manager of chemical analysis laboratory Dr. Ilva Nakurte describes the research results: “Our research hypothesis has been confirmed. By-products from medicinal chamomile distillation process are a valuable source of bioactive compounds. They have a great potential for production of natural and organic cosmetics. However, so far in the previous research these types of extracts are not described.”


On the 20th of May Dr. Ilva Nakurte presented first research results in the 15th International Scientific Conference Vital Nature Sign 2021. She introduced conference participants with the IES’s achievements in medicinal chamomile by-product research.

 





Research “A biorefinery approach for the development of bioactive cosmetic ingredients from by-products of medicinal plant processing and plant cell cultivation” (1.1.1.1/19/A/075) is developed as a part of the European Regional Development Fund programme 1.1.1.1 measure “Support for applied research” and specific objective 1.1.1 “Improve research and innovation capacity and the ability of Latvian research institutions to attract external funding, by investing in human capital and infrastructure”


Read more about the project here.

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Researchers from the SIA “Field and Forest” and the Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES) introduces 9 wild medicinal and aromatic plant (MAP) species suitable for growing in organic farming. In March, researcher Dr Arta Kronberga was invited to share IES’s experience in the international conference “Breeding and seed sector innovations for organic food systems”.

 

SIA “Field and Forest” in cooperation with the Institute for Environmental Solutions and Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis study the cultivation potential of 9 wild spring MAP species – cowslip (Primula veris), woodruff (Galium odoratum), mezereon (Daphne mezereum), coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), pasqueflower (Pulsatilla pratensis), lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis), ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea), greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) and lady’s mantle (Alchemilla spp).

“Latvia’s wild medicinal and aromatic plants have a high potential for growing in organic farming and further use as an ingredient for production of medicinal, food and cosmetic products. At the same time, more than 90% of MAPs are collected by wild harvesting. We foresee that commercial cultivation of wild plants could help to meet the growing market demand, thus reducing the pressure on wild populations,” Dr Arta Kronberga describes the importance of this research.


Click HERE and view Dr Arta Kronberga presentation “Domestication potential of Latvian local medicinal and aromatic plants genetic resources” in the international conference “Breeding and seed sector innovations for organic food systems”.



Additionally, researchers carry chemical analysis of the wild plants to evaluate how the concentrations of active compounds change due to different factors, for example, growing and climate conditions. As Dr Arta Kronberga explains: “we are developing organic farming cultivation methods for each of the 9 wild plants. This approach will show us which populations are suitable for commercial cultivation and can guarantee the highest concentrations of active compounds, thus providing the requested quality for medicine, cosmetic and food production.”

The research is a part of the project “Innovative solutions for growing technologies and applications of spring medicinal and aromatic plants” (Nr. 1.1.1.1/18/A/043). It is supported by European Regional Development Fund, as a part of Measure 1.1.1.1 “Industry-Driven Research” of specific objective 1.1.1 “To increase the research and innovation capacity of scientific institutions of Latvia and their ability to attract external funding by investing in human resources and infrastructure”.

More about the ongoing research and project here.
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The joint project of the Latvian organic farming and essential oil production company SIA “Field and Forest” and the largest Estonian household chemical company “Mayeri industries” AS on the development of new liquid cleaning and personal hygiene products is nearing completion. The newly created products – liquid soap, universal cleaner, laundry softener and dishwashing detergent – are based on SIA “Field and Forest” produced herbal waters as a natural fragrance.


To develop new products, the partners carried out industrial research. In the period from December 2020 to the end of March 2021, SIA “Field and Forest” elaborated the herbal water distillation methodology and defined product technical requirements, such as used plant parts, plant cultivation and extraction methods, chemical composition, allergens, solubilities, pH, and total viable count. Storage and transportation conditions were stated, as well. Storage conditions and shelf life were determined in the accelerated stability tests in the laboratory. In cooperation with the project’s leading partner, marketing materials for new products have been developed and a website has been opened.


Development of new liquid cleaning and personal hygiene products based on herbal water as a natural fragrance was co-funded by the Interreg V-A Estonia-Latvia Cross Border Cooperation Program (project identification number EST-LAT 128, Herbal Waters). This article reflects the views of the author. The managing authority of the Interreg V-A Estonia – Latvia programme is not liable for how this information may be used.

About the companies 

Mayeri Industries is the largest manufacturer of washing and cleaning products in the Baltic States. The target market for our products is the Nordic region. We believe that the washing and cleaning products can be produced without affecting the natural environment negatively. Mayeri Industries AS has the biggest laundry washing product portfolio with EU Ecolabel in Europe.

SIA “Field and Forest” is a certified organic agriculture company operating since 2005. It cultivates, harvests and processes organic crops, medicinal and aromatic plants. SIA “Field and Forest” is one of the largest organic chamomile growers and producers in the Eastern Europe. The company’s research activities are aimed at increasing genetic diversity of medicinal and aromatic plants, development of new plant cultivation methods and added-value products, and collection of traditional knowledge through ethnobotanical expeditions.

More about the project here.

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