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A novel cost-efficient hydroponic technology to grow high value plant roots for nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals & cosmetics

Project description

New technology for growing medical plants

An estimated 18 000 plants known to science are classified as medical plants. However, only 150 of them are industrially farmed. Nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries obtain the biologically active elements from the plant roots. Nevertheless, production through cultivation or harvesting in the wild, especially for ginseng, do not meet market demands. The EU-funded Rhizomia project is developing an innovative hydroponic technology that enables rapid sustainable production methods. Rhizomia empowers biomass growth and advances active ingredient extraction. Today, the ginseng market is dominated by non-EU actors. Rhizomia aims to create a large-scale production technology that will allow the EU to reach up to 35 % of market share by 2030.


Out of 391,000 plants known to science only 31,000 have practical applications. 18,000 are classified as medicinal plants, which means they have a documented medicinal effect. But only 150 plants are cultivated industrially. Medicinal plants are a huge global market, conservatively estimated at €70bn+ in 2015. Plant roots provide many of the important biologically active ingredients found in nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food additives & other products.
Production of such active ingredients from plants (cultivated by horticultural means or harvested in the wild) is not sufficient to meet the growing market demand. New sustainable production methods revolve around in-vitro cultivation in bioreactors. The main limiting factor of the current solutions is the plant biomass growth rate. Existing bioreactors are unable to produce sufficient amounts of biomass & active ingredients at economically attractive speeds, limiting their use.
Rhizomia from Botalys is a novel technology that enables a 2x faster biomass growth (reaching doubling time of 6-8 days for ginseng roots) and a 2-3x boost in active ingredient elicitation level (10-12% concentration of the top 7 ginsenosides instead of 4% concentration of the top 7 ginsenosides in harvested wild ginseng).
There is an annual market of ~80,000 tons of dry ginseng matter, growing at ~8% per year. It is dominated by non-European producers. With Rhizomia we are able to produce best-in-class red (post-processed) ginseng with unmatched profile of ginsenosides—active ingredients. With Rhizomia-produced ginseng we are aiming to take 30-35% market share already by 2030 by building a large-scale production facility and putting EU back on the map of major ginseng exporters.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 2 205 000,00
Quai des usines 8
7800 Ath

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Région wallonne Prov. Hainaut Arr. Ath
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 945 000,00