Natural extract against menopausal disorders
Company : The company YAKIMA CHIEF HOPS, whose R&D Center Europe is based in Louvain-La-Neuve, is active in the production and processing of hop products
Issue: The by-products of YAKIMA CHIEF HOPS activity could be valorized as a treatment against menopausal symptoms. Indeed, the presence of prenylated flavonoids in “spent hops”, a hop residue obtained after extraction by supercritical CO2 of the bitter acids used for beer production, makes it an excellent candidate to mimic the action of natural estrogens.
CRA action: The mission entrusted to CELABOR and its extraction department, within the framework of a CWALITY project with the financial support of the Walloon Region, was to develop an extract from “spent hops” with guaranteed minimum contents of prenylated flavonoid compounds thanks to the green and innovative subcritical water extraction technology. The main molecules targeted are 8-prenylnaringenin (8PN, the most active molecule with direct action), and its precursor isoxanthohumol (IXH, for a delayed action). Thus, at the end of the research conducted for YAKIMA CHIEF HOPS, CELABOR was able to develop a protocol of extraction with subcritical water and purification by innovative processes (ion exchange resins, centrifugal partition chromatography) allowing a concentration of more than 30x of the active ingredients of interest. The enriched extract thus obtained has concentrations clearly higher than 1.5% of IXH and 0.5% of 8PN found in commercial hop products already on the market. A very interesting phyto-oestrogenic effect was demonstrated (external collaboration) as well as a pre-study of the stability of the extract (3 months at 40°C and RH 75%). A considerable effort was made to scale up the process, which was made very complex by the particularly fine granulometry of the raw material and its tendency to swell in contact with water. A solution was found by pre-imbibition of the material before treatment with subcritical water.
Industrial benefits: The development of an innovative extraction and purification method for prenylated flavonoids is a serious avenue for the valorization of YAKIMA CHIEF HOPS by-products. The taking of a patent is under consideration. Work is still needed to scale up this process to an industrial scale using a contactor compatible with the granulometry of the material. In addition to the application to fight against menopausal disorders, the applications of such an extract can be multiple: fight against hair loss, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory applications,…