Active Project

The search for interesting chemicals from Welsh indigenous plants


Naturiol has been exploring the extraction and application of chemical components known as saponins that are extracted from common Ivy (Hedera helix) fruit and leaves. These have been shown to have bioactivity against plant diseases, molluscs and nematodes.

The Problem

With the costs of developing new conventional pesticides increasing exponentially and the fact that the pest and disease organisms are developing resistance to these man-made products relatively quickly, there is nowadays and increasing interests in bio-pesticides that are of natural origin. The question therefore is where to source such new botanical bio-pesticides from plant sources that are not agricultural crops or that need to be grown on agricultural land normally used for food production.

The Solution

Common Ivy (not to be confused with poison ivy that is found in North America) is found ubiquitously in Wales and Europe generally and is rich in chemical substances known as saponins that have some unique features in terms of their chemical structure and properties. Medicinal products based on common ivy have been used in treatments for coughs in humans. Several years of research at Bangor University has lead to patented extraction technologies and uses for these chemicals. Naturiol has an exclusive license for the exploitation of these chemicals in several fields of use including human and animal health as well as in plant protection.

The Outcome

Naturiol is in the process of developing large scale extraction of the saponins from ivy fruits and leaves and is exploring novel means of producing them using cell culture technology and is exploring also their application in a wide range of markets.

Our initial testing has shown the saponins to be active at surprisingly low doses

a field evaluation collaborating partner

Can Naturiol be of help to you in any way?

If you are interested in any of the platform chemicals that we are working on or would like to use some of our specialist services in chemical synthesis or chemical analysis please get in touch...