Indigenous flavours & fragrances

South Africa represents a global epicenter of aromatic plants.
The fragrance and flavor industry remains challenged and under immense consumer pressure to produce innovative products for this lucrative industry. Like the pharmaceutical industry, the flavor and fragrance industry turns to nature for guidance, inspiration and as a source of novel compounds for commercial development.

Despite this rich botanical diversity (matched by chemical diversity) it is surprising that many of the indigenous assets remain latent and are not systematically studied which is an obvious pre-requisite for these unique botanical assets to be transformed into consumer products. An extensive exploratory phase and excellent researching infrastructure underpins any commercial development. In the quest to explore this extra-special flora of South Africa this project aims at creating a strong scientific base and expertise in the study of the indigenous aromatic plants which hitherto remains poorly investigated.

Objectives:
  • To systematically explore the extra-special flora of South Africa, especially the indigenous aromatic flora.
  • To systematically work towards an extensive inventory of indigenous aromatic plants
  • To accurately record the chemical profiles of essential oil-containing plants, the head space constituents of fragrant flowers and also the volatiles in indigenous fruit flavors.
  • To identify through rigorous and comprehensive screening favorable chemotypes for further (local) development for the flavor and fragrance industries. This may be to find special ‘notes', or new sources of desirable isolates.
  • To investigate the chemical and biological properties of extracts for potential use in the active cosmetic sector.
  • To establish ourselves as a national and eventually as a world class laboratory on various aspects of plant volatiles.
Pelargonium radens | Geraniaceae | leaf and flower | botanical - Kirstenbosch, Cape Town, South Western Cape, South Africa [2008 © alvaroviljoen.com]