Monica Giusti’s lab budget wasn’t limitless. And the anthocyanins she studied weren’t cheap. So she made her own — slashing costs 10- to 20-fold. Now, her patented process will be commercialized by newly formed Anthocyantific LLC. Giusti is chief scientist.
Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that also give color to most red, orange, purple and blue fruits and vegetables. Giusti is internationally known for her research on their potential as cancer-fighters and as natural food dyes.
“Most companies sell anthocyanin standards, one anthocyanin at a time. And only a small portion of the 700 anthocyanins known to exist is available as pure standards,” Giusti said. “What we produce is unique.”
The process provides a complete blend of anthocyanins from specific foods: the single primary anthocyanin from strawberries, for example, or the 15-plus anthocyanins from blueberries. Giusti hopes the new products’ availability and low cost will galvanize new research into the pigments.
- Giusti’s anthocyanins research has garnered more than $500,000 in private industry support since 2009. The result: two patents, with five more pending.
- Guisti was named The Ohio State University’s Early Career Innovator of the Year in 2013, and is co-editor of “Anthocyanins in Health and Disease,” the first book to summarize advances in research of anthocyanins’ role in disease prevention.
- Giusti is a member of CAFFRE, the Center for Advanced Functional Foods Research and Entrepreneurship, which focuses on developing health-promoting functional foods and ingredients. CAFFRE combines efforts of 44 university scientists and has resulted in 250-plus collaborative research publications and a total of $18 million in support related to foods, nutrients and health between 2006–2014, including $2 million from 21 industry partners:
“Monica Giusti’s work is both cost-effective and innovative — a powerful combination that’s attractive to industry partners,” said Melissa Kelly, licensing manager, The Ohio State University Technology Commercialization Office. “Companies are working with Ohio State not only to fund her research but to commercialize it as well.”