Will Yeast Replace Cannabis In The CBD Oil Of The Future?
A new scientific breakthrough may offer an alternative to cannabis-derived CBD oil production methods. Major Canadian licensed producer Organigram recently announced a CAD$10-million investment into Montreal’s Hyasynth Biologicals. The investment is earmarked to ramp up the company’s quest to produce natural CBD, as well as possibly THC, other cannabinoids, and even terpenes through a fermentation process using genetically modified yeast.
“As a proven technology, the use of bioreactors is an infinitely scalable process which should allow Hyasynth to produce pharmaceutical grade cannabinoids at a significantly lower cost than traditional plant-based production,” said Organigram CEO Greg Engel in a recent statement. “Our strains of yeast have been specially designed to produce cannabinoids all on their own. There are no special chemicals or precursors that need to be added, just what the yeast needs to grow.”
Engel said the funding provided by Organigram would allow Hyasynth to refine and optimize its processes at scale via a contract manufacturer, as well as fund a manufacturing facility dedicated to the production of cannabinoids.
How It Works
The process involves continuous fermentation. Substrates are added, and the final products are continuously filtered. There are three fermentation methods: chemostats, which hold nutrient levels constant; turbidostats, which keep cell mass constant; and plug flow reactors in which the culture medium flows steadily through a tube while the cells are recycled from the outlet to the inlet. When the process is properly adjusted, there is a steady flow of feed and effluent, and any costs of repeated setup are avoided. Also, byproducts that inhibit the reactions can be continuously removed.
After fermentation, CBD and terpenes can be removed and combined with any number of preparations and used in all existing delivery options. Engel also points out that, since the company is not growing plants, there is no chance of any pesticides, heavy metals, or other contaminants getting into the product.
What’s In It For Organigram?
Organigram, a top 10 Canadian Licensed Producer, may be looking to hedge its marijuana options with this significant investment. The deal allows Organigram rights to purchase up to 25 percent of the cannabinoids produced by Hyasynth. Organigram will be granted a floating security interest over the assets of Hyasynth so long as there is indebtedness outstanding under the debenture.
In an overcrowded cannabis industry, Organigram’s move is an exciting effort to stand out from the crowd, as well as a worthwhile scientific breakthrough in the CBD sector.