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May 30, 2011

New Project on Bioactives from Australian Plants for Skincare

New Project on Bioactives from Australian Plants for Skincare
RIRDC approved a new project to commence June 1 2011 for 12 months with five Tasmanian and one multinational company.


Bioactive extracts from Australian-grown plants for the personal care industry.

A new collaborative research project, jointly funded by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and five Tasmanian and one International Company kicks off in Tasmania on the 1st of June for 12 months.  The $160,000 project brings together a unique and complex combination of partners to identify new active extracts from plants of potential value to the global personal care industry: to make skincare products which deliver valued anti-ageing and anti-wrinkle benefits.


The global market for skincare ingredients is huge and growing:

demand is for novel, unique bioactives with provenance (i.e. known production sources).

 Commercial partners Botanical Resources (better known for pyrethrum production) and Essential Oils of Tasmania (an essential oils company based in Kingston) will collaborate, alongside Diemen Pepper (suppliers of native pepper products, Birchs Bay).  Other partners include Ranicar Pacific (Deloraine-based freeze drying company) and IP-Pragmatics, a multinational intellectual property (IP) asset management company, with offices in Sydney and expertise in commercialising IP.  The research partner and lead company is MacTavish West, a Hobart-based consultancy for food and non-food natural plant chemicals (phytochemicals) led by Dr Hazel MacTavish-West.  The project is Hazel’s brainchild, developing as it does from her European experience over the last 10 years,  identifying and commercialising new plant extracts for skincare products; for example hydroponically grown marshmallow root for facial moisturisers in the UK.

‘There are some fantastically active plants which grow naturally or are grown for other purposes here in Tasmania, like native pepperberry, blackcurrant, pyrethrum and also Artemisia which is grown for an anti-malarial treatment’, Hazel says.  ‘Currently these plants are grown and extracted commercially for everything from flavours to natural pharmaceuticals and insecticides.  We want to extract both the raw plant material, and the by-products after commercial extraction, using new, different processes, and to assess the activity of these new extracts and fractions.  The market for new, unique and active plant extracts is huge and growing at a very fast rate globally.  We want to put Tasmania on the map for supply of something new, and something very effective’, Hazel said.  The 12 month project is a proof of principle project, which will produce active samples from a number of sources, and obtain feedback from potential end users in Europe by mid 2012.

 The partners held their inaugural meeting last week, attended by Alison Saunders of RIRDC.  Alison said: ’RIRDC was really pleased to see such broad through chain collaboration in this new project which could deliver significant results for this regionally important industry in Tasmania.’

Project participants (from left to right):

Darren West (MacTavish West Pty. Ltd.)

Rob McEldowney (Essential Oils of Tasmania Pty. Ltd.)

John Ranicar (Ranicar Pacific Pty. Ltd.)

Hazel MacTavish-West (MacTavish West Pty. Ltd.)

Brian Chung (Botanical Resources Australia Pty. Ltd.)

Chris Read (Diemen Pepper Pty. Ltd.)

Alison Saunders (RIRDC). 

Not present in person:  Ronnie Georghiou (IP Pragmatics Pty. Ltd.).


Notes to editors:

For press enquiries or images please contact Dr Hazel MacTavish-West

Telephone 04597 64859 or email



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