Agarwood of the Aquilaria and Gyrinops variety has been prized for centuries by incense and perfume makers, and traditional medicine practitioners.
Despite conservation measures and concerted efforts to grow Aquilaria and Gyrinops in tree nurseries and organic tree farms, these trees are rapidly vanishing from forests due to high demand. More recently, agarwood has been designated as an endangered species by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). According to data collected by the Wild Trade Monitoring Network, the global supply of wild agarwood could vanish from the planet in less than two years.
The production of a range of agarwood products by fermentation could complement the existing traditional approaches and allow a significant widening of their use without increasing the pressure on the endangered trees.
Evolva announced a collaboration with Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) in June 2014 aiming to establish a scientific Centre of Excellence for natural products from Malaysia as part of the Flavor and Fragrance Cluster in the state of Pahang. The Centre of Excellence, which is being facilitated by the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation, under Malaysia’s flagship Bioeconomy Transformation Programme, Bio-Accelerators for Technology Development and Innovation, will focus on the development of natural compounds using Evolva’s yeast fermentation production platform. The goal is to create a new paradigm in the sustainable production of Malaysia’s high value indigenous natural products, starting with agarwood fragrances.
The project got underway in 2014 and is currently in an exploratory phase.