19 Jan 2021

BBGI – BIO OM Produce World’s First Bio Enzyme for Crop Decontamination

On 19 January 2021, Mr. Kittiphong Limsuwannarot, chief executive officer of BBGI Public Company Limited, and Ms. Phinchayut Akkharakunlasan, managing director of BIO OM Company Limited that is a Chulalongkorn University spin-off company being incubated by the CU innovation hub and the National Science and Technology Development Agency, signed a memorandum of understanding in the “Bio Enzyme Production Project”. This initiative will deliver the world’s first high-value biobased product that can break the chemical structure of pesticide chemicals contaminating vegetables/fruits.

The MOU is bringing a biological-innovation research by the Biochemistry Department, the Faculty of Science, the Chulalongkorn University, to the next level. The department has been a pioneer in Modern Biotechnology studies. This branch of knowledge has been advancing and developing a huge potential to serve mankind in regards to industrial, medical and agricultural applications. Under this MOU, Modern Biotechnology will be leveraged to remove toxins from fruits/vegetables as decontamination via chemical methods like with the help of salt, vinegar, potassium permanganate, and baking soda or physical methods such as washing under running water or boiled water cannot completely do the job. Contaminants threaten consumers’ health. When toxins accumulate inside bodies, they may even cause deaths.

Mr. Kittiphong says, “In the face of growing health trend among consumers, BBGI which is stepping into high-value biobased product market has recognized the severity of contaminated food. Released in 2020, the latest report by the Thailand Pesticide Alert Network (Thai-PAN) shows pesticide contamination level in fruits and vegetables are 60 per cent above safety standards. The report also reveals that contamination level is about 100 per cent above the safety limit among more than 20 popular crops like Chinese kale, guinea pepper, tomato, parsley and grape. BBGI has thus become interested in using Modern Biotechnology-based innovation in solving the problem. Upon hearing about the innovation development at the Chulalongkorn University, we are keen to upgrade the innovation for the commercial market”.

He continues that, “BBGI has consulted and now signed an MOU with BIO OM to formulate a strategy that will bring its technology to industry-level production. Under the MOU, BBGI will be in charge of planning large-scale production, marketing and distribution”.

“I am extremely pleased that we are developing the world’s first biobased product/bioactive compound based on Modern Biotechnology or creating the bio enzyme that can decontaminate vegetables/fruits for consumers’ safety. This innovation will also reduce the amount of water needed for crop washing as well as the amount of toxins released to the environment. BIO OM will transfer technology to BBGI. This is the first step of our collaboration to commercialize technology for the delivery of biobased products that will improve consumers’ quality of life. Our collaboration, moreover, marks the beginning of commercial Modern Biotechnology development by an industrial operator and the Chulalongkorn University spin-off company for national interests,” Mr. Kittiphong concludes.