Conagen Begins Scale Up of Natural Sustainable Musk Macrocyclic Lactone Fragrance Materials

Musk portfolio includes familiar and completely novel aromas to bring precious, warm, and comforting scents to fine and household fragrances, personal care and beauty products.

Bedford, Mass., Jan. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Conagen announced today its breakthrough development in the commercial production of natural and sustainable macrocyclic musk lactones from natural substrates using its proprietary technology, further expanding its already extensive gamma-lactone portfolio.

Musk fragrance compounds are typically used as base note ingredients in perfumes. The natural sources of these compounds are found in glandular secretions of animals, such as musk deer and some plants. In low concentrations, musks are expansive, velvety, sensual and sweet. However, the fragrance industry overall has moved away from animal sources, and plant sources are scarce.  Currently, chemically synthesized substitutes with similar scents are available for use.

Conagen successfully bridged its gamma-lactone production technology with its lipid platform to expand its lactone portfolio to natural musk scent macrocyclic lactones.

Built upon the diversity of structures among natural lipids, Conagen’s macrocyclic musk portfolio contains diverse compounds representing a range of familiar and novel aromas, many of which have never before been commercially available. This variety of characteristics creates a wider spectrum of fragrance application options for manufacturers that use musk macrocyclic lactones in their products.

“The expansion of Conagen’s lactone platform to macrocyclic lactones with musk fragrances adds to our momentum in meeting consumers’ demand for nature-based, clean ingredients,” said Dr. Casey Lippmeier, VP of innovation at Conagen.

“We have found new ways to make various classes of natural lactones.  I am excited by the new prospects our musk lactones bring as they have grown rapidly from a proof-of-concept technology to commercial production.  Expect many more innovative, natural lactones coming from our technology,” said Dr. Lippmeier.

For the last 10 years, Conagen has successfully developed one of the largest portfolios of ingredient products for its customers, including science-based Blue California ingredients.

“The technology breakthrough is impressive on its own, but equally so is the speed at which Conagen was able to take musk from idea to scaleup – five short months.  That’s the partner you want to have in these competitive markets,” said Kathy Oglesby, head of flavor and fragrance at Blue California.

About Conagen

Conagen is making the impossible possible. Our scientists and engineers use the latest synthetic biology tools to develop sustainable, nature-based molecules bio-manufactured into the highest quality products available. We focus on the bioproduction of high-value ingredients for food, nutrition, flavors and fragrances, pharmaceutical, and renewable materials industries. For more information, visit


Ana Arakelian
+1.781.271.1588 and +1.781.353.9028
[email protected]

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