Totarol goes global

- Last updated on GMT

Essentially New Zealand says it has been 'overwhelmed' by the
response to the active ingredient Totarol, which it showcased at
last week's In-Cosmetics show. Its natural antibacterial properties
have already proved to be successful in skincare and oral care
product in Australasia and now the product is poised to go global,
reports Simon Pitman.

The only company from New Zealand at the show has a small stand, but managing director Reinhard Hueber says that he has been inundated with enquiries.

"I am not sure if this response has been as a result of the novelty of our ingredient or the fact that we are forming part of a trend towards more natural and organic-based ingredients,"​ said Hueber.

Totarol is extracted from recycled Podocarpus Totara hardwood using a supercritical process. Most of the wood comes from discarded fencing, which, after as long as 150 years in the ground, is often found to be still in perfect condition at the core. The fact that the wood does not degrade is due to its valuable antibacterial properties, which in extract form can be used in a variety of cosmetic and personal care formulations.

"It has taken four years to develop the Totarol extract and to bring it to the market,"​ said Hueber, who emigrated to New Zealand from his native Germany 34 years ago. "The ingredient was first developed for oral care products including several lines of toothpaste, as well as an acne treatment."

Totarol's antibacterial properties has been proven to fight against Strepococcus mutans, a carcinogenic organism present in dental plaque. As a result it has been combined with other bioactive natural products to give a variety of antimicrobial toothpaste and mouthwash used to fight gingivitis and periodontal disease.

The extract has likewise exhibited potent activity against Propionibacterium acnes. The company says that combined with Testostorone 5a Reductase Inhibitor, the formula has shown an 80 per cent success rate for treatment.

The diversity of products is not expected to stop there though. The company says it has already developed a line of teenage cosmetic treatments as well as adult and baby care products all featuring the active ingredient.

"Currently Totarol is found in skincare and oral care products in New Zealand and in acne treatments available in Australia,"​ said Hueber. "However, we are now looking to extend our market beyond this region. Recently we have received certification from the European authorities for the extract to be used in cosmetics products in Europe.

"The next step will be to move towards organic certification. We are currently undergoing this process with the Australian and New Zealand organic certification authorities and will next be looking into gaining certification in Europe."

But Essentially New Zealand​ plans are not be just confined to Western Europe and Australasia. Hueber says that at In-Cosmetics the company has had interest from Eastern American, European and Asian companies, with China and Russian-based companies making up a particularly large volume of enquiries.

If the interest shown at In-Cosmetics is anything to go by, it seems to be just a matter of time before Totarol makes a name for itself in the international cosmetics and personal care sector.

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