Peptides can hold the key to unlocking innovation where active ingredients are concerned, leveraging health and nutrition as well as utilizing food compounds to treat diseases. Biotech specialist Nuritas speaks to NutritionInsight on how its AI-powered platform can uncover bioactives and present environmentally sustainable solutions.
“Peptides have the potential to replace ingredients that have common side effects, chemical options, animal-based alternatives, etc. They bring a natural and inclusive solution to the table that removes those unwanted additives. They can also provide solutions where currently there is no other alternative available,” says Dr. Audrey Wall, Nuritas scientific lead.
The AI technology platform Nπϕ (Nuritas Peptide Finder) has been shown to identify and develop new bioactives ten times faster and 600 times more accurately than traditional discovery methods, significantly reducing time to market, she adds.
“There are so many opportunities and our approach is very flexible in that we can start with a specific nutritional or health target and utilize our platform to work backward and find the ideal peptide ingredient that can address this. In this approach, the speed at which we can discover vital bioactive peptides is unparalleled.”
Previously Nuritas discovered rice-based peptides that showed positive effects on the physique among elderly, as well as an anti-inflammatory effect. The peptides allowed the rice to unlock their biological functionality.
Bioactive peptides identified through this platform can be sourced from waste streams from food processing, further presenting upcycling potential for a circular economy, Wall notes.
“While peptides are becoming well-known and highly regarded in skincare and aging, the wide range of benefits peptides offer in many health areas is less well known. This is a significant challenge facing peptides.”
Bioavailability has historically been a concern for peptide ingredients, however the Nuritas platform can identify hyper-targeted peptides that are highly efficient, so they are bioavailable long enough to do their job, she adds.
“The upside of this is that they have short half-lives and are generally regarded as safe and tolerable.”
Nuritas continues to publish in high caliber peer-reviewed journals where they discuss the in vitro, preclinical and clinical findings to highlight the multiple benefits of peptides in different health areas,
The company plans to “bring molecular food science to new heights,” Wall underscores and will continue to publish research discussing “ in vitro, preclinical and clinical findings to highlight the multiple benefits of peptides in different health areas.”
Utilizing peptides across industry
Previous studies have shown that even though the usage of peptides is a well-known phenomenon in cosmetics and becoming established in the medical industry, there is an untapped demand for healthier food products formulated with these compounds.
“Peptides are the language of nature: signaling molecules that can trigger, regulate or correct precise biological pathways in human bodies. They provide highly-specific benefits that can be added to our everyday products, from skincare to supplements, (functional) food, medical food and drugs,” Wall says.
“We can use a wide range of food sources to identify natural bioactive peptides. As a result, we can also improve (environmental) sustainability by using food by-products or waste products to find bioactive ingredients with health benefits.”
Nuritas aims to aid a more resilient food system by replacing antibiotics in food and unwanted preservatives with natural sources, in a bid to address future regulatory requirements.
Expanding applicability of limited active ingredients
The costs of creating active ingredients are high, which makes it difficult for companies to keep up, Nuritas stresses.
There is a limited amount of active ingredients, thus companies need to resort to reformulation and innovative creation, creating a high opportunity cost, it underscores. Another factor lacking is the knowledge of how the ingredients work in a reformulated application.
Nuritas’ proprietary AI technology platform was created to enhance the power of peptides in natural food sources “with speed and detail”. It has attracted the interest of companies such as Nestle, Pharmavite, Sumitomo Corporation, BASF, Mars and Metagenics.
This gives room for rapid innovation and creates a pathway for companies to provide improved sustainable products to the end user. The platform also identifies hyper-targeted peptides that are highly efficient in bioavailable terms.
When facing the issues of high cost, accuracy and rapidity has previously shown a significant cost-reduction for Nuritas operations.
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