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- 06/24/2020

Vytrus Biotech launches CSR action to research and preserve the olive tree in Catalonia

AgroFOOD Industry Hi Tech

Vytrus Biotech and IRTA, the Institute of Agri-food Research and Technology of the government of Catalonia, announce their agreement that aims to research and preserve the different traditional varieties of olive tree in Catalonia through joint initiatives and actions. The biotechnology company allocates to this project a percentage of the turnover of one of its cosmetics ingredients, OLEA VITAE, a revitalizing cellular oil enhancer obtained from the stem cells of wild olive tree.


Vytrus Biotech promotes its own corporate social responsibility program, fostered by its commitment to nature, sustainability, and the environment, returning to nature what nature brings us. This commitment is based on allocating a part of the turnover of its ingredients to various research and conservation projects

related to the plant world and the environment, to link them with their ingredients, and thus sponsor the projects and collaborate in their development.

Òscar Expósito, CEO, CSO and co-founder of Vytrus Biotech, says: “The collaboration with IRTA represents for Vytrus Biotech a strategic alliance, aligned with our commitment to conserve and promote the plant biodiversity and resources of our planet. And what better way of supporting global sustainability than starting with our local natural resources!”. To which he adds: “

As plant lovers and through this agreement, Vytrus Biotech wants to do its bit to raise awareness among the general public and promote a new way of conceiving economic progress. Our experience supports this premise: it is possible to innovate in science, be sustainable and, at the same time, grow economically. We must learn to devise business models in which it is possible to grow with other parameters than purely economic ones”.

IRTA, the Institute of Agri-Food Research and Technology of the government of Catalonia has a research team focused on olive growing in Catalonia. This team participates in the Nutrisalt project (initiative promoted by local institutions) by giving support in the innovation of companies where this collaboration is framed. And within this framework, one of IRTA’s research activities has been the creation of the Catalan Olive Variety Bank, a project that consists of prospecting, identifying, characterizing, and preserving the indigenous genetic resources of olive trees in Catalonia. So far, the Bank has 80 traditional Catalan olive varieties. The study of indigenous varieties may be of great interest in situations of climate change, either to identify genes for resistance to emerging pests, or to identify genes for adaptation to drought conditions, or to identify functional compounds of interest to companies developing new products.

“The collaboration between IRTA and Vytrus Biotech in olive growing allows IRTA to complement the study of Catalan autochthonous varieties from a new perspective, such as that of biotechnological applications. The classic variety evaluation considers aspects of agronomic behaviour, climate adaptation and oil quality. Including biotechnology criteria could allow us to recover some variety of agronomic value and with good potential for the development of new products”, explains Dr. Agustí Romero, IRTA specialist researcher.

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