Flaxseed: the superfood turned superbug fighter

By Emily Lehmann

1 December 2015

3 minute read

The humble flaxseed is a well known source of alpha-linolenic acid, an anti-microbial agent.

The humble flaxseed is a well known source of alpha-linolenic acid, an anti-microbial agent.

High in fibre, good for the heart and a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. You wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking we’re describing a superfood here. Hailed for its long list of nutritional health benefits, the humble flaxseed packs a lot of punch for a tiny seed.

Seeing an opportunity to turn that superfood goodness into a superbug fighter, Australian start-up Kayban has used flaxseed in a world-first healthcare range for fighting infection. And, we’re proud to say we’ve played a part in making that happen.

Three bottles of lotion

Bio3 Guardian is a moisturising alternative to ethanol-based gels.

Kayban’s range of anti-microbial topical lotions and washes, called Bio3 Guardian, uses natural flaxseed oil properties instead of ethanol to kill bad bacteria.

According to independent tests, Bio3 Guardian is fast-acting and effective at killing golden staph, the common and deadly superbug that led to 1,621 hospital-acquired infection cases in 2013-14.

The advantage of using flaxseed is that it’s more moisturising than ethanol-based products that can cause skin to dry and crack upon repeated use and increase chances of developing conditions like dermatitis.

That’s going to benefit healthcare workers and patients who regularly need to use sanitisers and disinfectants to maintain hygiene or care for wounds.

So what gives flaxseed these superbug-fighting super powers? Flaxseed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid with anti-microbial properties.

Kayban came to us with the challenge to extract this crucial alpha-linolenic acid so that it could be used reliably in a product. Through a Victorian Government Innovation and Technology Voucher, Kayban and our scientists came up with a cost-effective process that produces excellent quality and highly enriched alpha-linolenic acid. It’s been pivotal in Kayban’s journey to commercialising a unique saleable product.

The technology has been transferred to Melbourne-based CSIRO spin out, Boron Molecular, to extract the flaxseed component for Kayban on a multi-kilogram scale. Kayban will is also working with another local manufacturer to formulate the end product. That means new business and growth opportunities for three Australian small and medium-sized businesses.

The Bio3 Guardian range includes a hand and body wash, hand lotion, sanitiser and gel and will cost $7-10 for a 500ml bottle when it goes to market in early 2016. Kayban has plans to eventually take this innovation to the rest of the world, and we’re stoked to have played our role in helping them take their idea to market.

Find out more about products we’ve helped develop to promote better health and wellbeing.

Media contact: Emily Lehmann on +61 419 271 822