Producing Citrus Oils from Plant Cell Cultures

Request Number REQ9291841
Due Date September 17, 2015
Author Nick Kacsandi
Request for Proposal Details
RFP Title
Producing Citrus Oils from Plant Cell Cultures
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing a leading Manufacturer of Specialty Chemicals, invites proposals for innovative approaches to produce naturally-derived citrus oils and other citrus compounds from cultured plant cells.


NineSigma’s client relies heavily on products derived from citrus essential oils, which are constantly at the mercy of external factors that influence their supply chain. Issues such as seasonal variations in availability, external regulations, and political factors all have the potential to negatively impact the availability of source material. More recently, the global pandemic of citrus greening has acutely highlighted the need for new and reliable sources of natural citrus products.


The RFP sponsor seeks to identify potential development partners with novel approaches or technologies that can produce citrus oil(s) from cultured citrus cells. Potential solutions in the areas of advanced biotechnology and synthetic biology have been investigated, but raise concerns related to citrus source designations. However, recent advances in cell culturing technology have raised the possibility of generating a self-contained raw material stream insulated from external influences that is also “from source”. Solution providers with proposals from across the landscape of industry, academia, research and consulting are invited to respond.


NOTE: Other biotechnological approaches to achieve this objective are also of significant interest, however all such proposals should include a clear explanation of the proposed methodology and how it addresses the “from source” concerns that the client has established herein.


Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan

Phase 1 – Initial discussions under NDA to determine validity of approach

• Provide information as to the current state of the art and future outlook (5-10 year) in this area

o Types of compounds

o Production methods

o Estimates on price (particularly the minimum realistic price for these types of products)

• Provide initial feasibility, budget, and timeline assessment


Phase 2 – Proof of technical concept against RFP specifications

• Technical data or report for evaluation (also provide recommendations for next step)

• Samples or prototypes provided for client testing

• Rough estimate on costs for development, and potential production for commercialization.


Phase 3 – Commercial development

• Development pathway including plan for optimizing against key success criteria

• After successful proof of concept, discussion about commercial development is desired. At this point specific targets would need to be discussed.


Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will:

• Be compatible with or adaptable to plant-derived citrus cell cultures from orange, lemon, lime, etc.

• Be capable of generating one or more citrus oils

○ Valencia orange oils are preferable; however, other oils (from lemon, lime, etc.) are of interest.

• Allow reliable harvesting / separation of cultured byproducts from source cells

• Likely be scalable / economical at commercial volume

• Include discussion of freedom to operate based on the proposed technical solution


Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

• Bioreactor technologies

• Suspension cultures

• Advanced biotechnology solutions that meet requirements for natural or naturally-derived products

• Approaches or technologies that can be adapted from non-plant cell culturing to citrus cell cultures (animal, insect, bacterial, yeast, viral, etc.)


Approaches not of interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

• Approaches that are not compatible with or adaptable to citrus cells

• Synthetic biology approaches that do not meet standards for natural or naturally-derived products

• Synthetic biology approaches that use microbes as host organism.

• Prospective or hypothetical approaches that cannot be scaled to proof of concept stage


Preferred Collaboration types
Items to be submitted

To respond, please make sure you are registered in NineSights, as it will prompt you to log in. Then, use the Response options at the top or bottom of the page. You may submit supplemental files in addition to your completed response form.


Appropriate responses will use the response form and address the following:

• Non-confidential description of proposed technology

• Technical maturity of the approach (concept, prototype, ready to commercialize, commercialized)

• Compatibility of the proposed solution with the requirements outlined in the “Key Success Criteria” section above.

○ If proposing an approach from an adjacent industry, please provide justification for how your technology would meet the desired results for the given application.

○ If proposing an approach employed with non-plant based cell cultures, please provide justification for how your technology could be optimized for use with plant-based cell cultures.

○ Discussion of how to resolve unmet Success Criteria.

• Performance data, if available and applicable

• Budget / Cost information, if available

• Team / Organization description

• Relevant expertise, experience or background related to the RFP topic area

• Desired relationship with the RFP sponsor

• Position on freedom to operate, handling or negotiation of intellectual property rights, licensing opportunities, etc. (if applicable)



Area of Interest
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