Biomaterial tech company Nanollose is adding to its growing portfolio of intellectual property, filing a new provisional patent application with IP Australia, this time for its alternative seed germination and plant growing material Jelli Grow.  

Nanollose (ASX:NC6) has filed an application with IP Australia entitled Method for Dewatering Microbial Cellulose covering the production process for a readily rehydratable dry formulation of Nanollose’s Jelli Grow™ soil-less seed raising medium.

The ability to dry and then rehydrate the microbial cellulose represents a major advancement over the company’s previous Jelli Grow formulation and was developed in response to feedback from prospective customers.

A key attribute of the novel methodology for drying microbial cellulose is that it prevents the hardening of cellulose upon drying, known as hornification.

The new dehydrated formulation has a significant advantage over the previous wet formulation, in that it dramatically reduces the cost and complexity of shipping, storage and handling.

The technology enables end users to regenerate the medium simply by adding water upon receipt of the dehydrated formulation, which simplifies the shipping process and overcomes a key barrier to commercial uptake.

While this technology was initially developed to provide a dehydrated formulation of Jelli Grow, NC6 believes it has wider application in other products and processes involving microbial cellulose.

Large horticultural market

NC6 has become well-known for its tree-friendly Nullarbor™ fibre technology, which remains the primary business focus of its board and management team.

However, the new large addressable horticultural market presents the company with the opportunity to pursue several additional revenue channels with potential commercial significance.

The exciting R&D breakthrough with Jelli Grow follows the recent transition of the Nullarbor technology from the laboratory to the pilot phase.

This has in turn facilitated an internal reallocation of R&D resources towards the development of NC6’s other applications for microbial cellulose, including Jelli Grow and vegan leather.

Following the filing of the patent, NC6 can now begin the commercialisation process for its upgraded Jelli Grow soil-less seed germination platform.

NC6 executive chairman Dr Wayne Best said the R&D project marks a breakthrough in the commercial application of Jelli Grow.

“In addition to a greatly improved product, it has delivered a valuable methodology for drying microbial cellulose and preventing hornification, which has many other potential applications,” he said.

“This is a significant development for the business and solves a key pain point for the scaled rollout of microbial cellulose manufacturing operations for several applications.

“In that context, the patent application marks an important step for the business to enhance our intellectual property portfolio.”

Pilot batch of new Jelli Grow

The company will work with its microbial cellulose supply partner, Hainan Guangyu Biotechnology, to produce a pilot batch of the new Jelli Grow formulation.

The primary aim of the pilot production run will be to optimise the process for commercial-scale manufacture.

As a by-product of the production process, it will also generate test material for distribution to potential customers for testing under commercial conditions across various horticulture applications.

In anticipation of commercialisation, NC6 has recently extended its trademark protection around Jelli Grow which is now granted in Australia, New Zealand, China, the EU, the UK, and pending in Singapore, Japan, Canada and the US.

The company plans to file the application in numerous other jurisdictions in due course through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

Second pilot spin of Nullarbor lyocell fibre

NC6 recently announced it had completed its second pilot spin of its sustainable Nullarbor lyocell fibre, successfully increasing the microbial cellulose content with R&D partner Birla Cellulose.

Completion of the second pilot run follows a recent extension of a research collaboration agreement with Birla Cellulose – a business unit of Grasim Industries, a division of multinational Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla Group. The collaboration first began in January 2020.

This article was developed in collaboration with Nanollose, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.