The India-based group announced yesterday that the Country's Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) will provide $185,000 for two new projects to test for both a new means for producing the resveratrol compound, as well as a plant-based cosmetic ingredient.
News of the grant could further lend support to research linking resveratrol -albeit at debatable quantities - to some potential consumer benefits, particularly in terms of heart health.
Sami Labs, which operates as the research and manufacturing arm of Sabinsa, will receive the funding to focus on its patented synthetic demethylation technique.
The process, which was last year patented within the US, was designed by the group as a means to obtain compounds for the production of polyphenols such as resveratrol, oxyresveratrol and gnetol.
Dr. Muhammed Majeed, founder and chief executive officer of Sabinsa, said that the DSIR funding would continue to allow the group to work on finding and refining functional ingredients and supplements.
"Sami Labs considers this sanction by DSIR as a recognition of its sustained efforts to pioneer and explore novel areas of research to improve human health and wellness," he stated.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in grapes and red wine, mulberries, peanuts and 'knotweed' (Polygonum cuspidatum).
It is often touted as the bioactive compound in grapes and red wine, and has particularly been associated with the so-called 'French Paradox', a phrase used to describe the low incidence of heart disease and obesity among the French, despite their relatively high dietary intake of fat.
It has been shown to have positive anti-aging benefits, and has also demonstrated benefits in diabetes, heart health, obesity and some cancers.
However, some research suggests that these natural sources of the compound do not deliver the ingredient at high enough levels in order to receive the maximum benefits.
Red wine presence
In red wine, the amount of resveratrol in a bottle can vary between types of grapes and growing seasons, and can vary between 0.2 and 5.8 milligrams per litre. But nearly all dark red wines - merlot, cabernet, zinfandel, shiraz and pinot noir - contain resveratrol.
Estimates of suitable consumption levels to obtain health benefits have ranged from between 30 to 100 milligrams.
Nonetheless, as the evidence stacks up to support the positive message behind polyphenols fresh market opportunities are opening up. Frost & Sullivan estimates that there is significant potential for growth in polyphenol use as health ingredients.
The grant awarded to Sabinsa is part of an Indian government drive to promote advances made in the country's research, development and technology sectors, particularly in the increasingly lucrative fields of health goods.
In addition to the grant, Sami Labs' testing facilities and data systems were also passed by the country's national accreditation Board for Testing & Calibration Laboratories to be in compliance with regulatory guidelines, the group said.