“Bio Gut Fiber is a novel source of dietary fiber made from upcycled hemp hulls and contains N-trans caffeoyltyramine (NCT) and N-trans feruloyl- tyramine (NFT) by fortifying the gut lining,” Slotnik explained.
While the overall wellness conversation has focused on how fiber and biotics strengthen digestion and microbiome health, Slotnik said that little has been done for the gut barrier adding that “this is a new frontier of understanding.”
“The gut barrier is the body’s inner guardian that [absorbs] nutrients…and keeps pathogens and toxins out. When the gut barrier isn’t functioning properly, it tends to allow those things to cross the barrier and mix which…creates gut distress,” she elaborated.
The bioactive properties of NCT and NFT fortify the gut lining by “tightening the junctions between the cells” to create a more complete barrier of protection, she said.
Foraging for bioactives, building a supply chain around underutilized hemp hulls
The company’s AI-powered platform, Forager, scanned hundreds of plant sources to identify the presence of target bioactives. The platform connects bioactives that are found in natural sources, fungi and microbes with clinically validated biological targets in the body, Slotnik elaborated.
In the search for gut-friendly compounds, the team explored receptors in the gut lining, where they discovered an abundance of HNF4α receptors and screened for bioactives that “positively impacted” the receptor.
“When we found NCT and NFT…we found over 80 plant sources with some amount of NCT and NFT and we were able to determine that hemp hulls were actually the most abundant natural source,” Slotnik explained.
Hemp hulls were particularly notable since they are typically discarded or used in animal feed or sustainable commercial production, she said.
Identifying underused materials is a testament to Foragers’ capabilities, which effectively helped build a supply chain around hemp hulls, Slotnik emphasized. Bio Gut Fiber is also recognized as an Upcycled Certified and non-GMO Project Verified ingredient.
“Hemp hearts are typically the part of the hemp seeds that are utilized, and the hulls were kind of going to waste. So, now we’ve been able to build a supply chain around gathering these underutilized hemp hulls and giving them new life in this nutritional ingredient,” she added.
Bio Gut Fiber serves as a “an excellent source of fiber”
Brightseed surveyed more than 25 commonly used fibers in the market and “confirmed analytically that none of them have a detectable level of NCT or NFT,” underscoring hemp hulls as an abundant source of the bioactives.
Bio Gut Fiber provides an “excellent source of fiber in products in addition to delivering NCT and NFT bioactives,” she added.
A relatively flexible ingredient, Bio Gut Fiber can be used in a variety of applications from snack and nutrition bars, nutritional beverages and powdered supplements to cereals and baked goods due to its heat stability, which Slotnik remarked is unusual for some fibers.
While the ingredient easily disperses in formulation, it does not dissolve, making it an unsuitable match for clear or carbonated beverages, Slotnik added.
Forager is expected to continue accelerating ingredient discovery to market launch
Forager utilizes Brightseed’s vast portfolio of compounds with its proprietary database of human health to “accelerate and magnify the power of finding these compounds,” within a few years and take it to market in less than one, Slotnik said.
Within Brightseed’s six-year span so far, Forager is continuously optimizing, as the company is updating and evolving the platform’s screening and training to develop more accurate and faster predictions.
“Bio Gut Fiber is the first time that we were able to take a compound from that discovery, from that illuminating moment, all the way through to development of an ingredient product and launch, and then commercialization into finished products, which we’ll be launching next year."