Plant Science

As the world’s population continues to grow and resources become more limited, Kemin believes it is our responsibility to discover more sustainable methods for producing ingredients that improve the quality of life.

For decades, the Kemin Specialty Crop Improvement (SCI) plant science program has harnessed sunlight, soil, carbon dioxide and water to manufacture molecules in lines of scientifically advanced oregano, rosemary, spearmint, potato and marigold. The specific molecules extracted from our botanicals displace those made with synthetic chemical reactions.

Our renewably created molecules can be formulated into ingredients that provide benefits across global animal feed, pet food, food, dietary supplement, personal care and commercial horticulture markets.

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Our Specialty Crop Improvement Process

Our Specialty Crop Improvement (SCI) process begins with bio-prospecting, a specific type of botanical research, to identify plants that naturally produce molecules with potential active or functional benefits for the markets we serve.

When the plant species is identified, our team of plant breeders, plant biochemists and analytical chemists use conventional breeding techniques to develop thousands of varieties of the plant. The variation is biochemically measured to determine the amount of a targeted molecule, and the process continuously repeats until we find a variation of the plant that is high in the desired molecule and practical to grow agronomically.

Once an ideal “botanical factory” has been established, it is propagated into thousands of identical plants to be scaled up into production at our growing locations around the world. 

As part of continuous crop improvement, Kemin scientists continue breeding new lines of specialty crops even when an ideal line has been established. This ongoing process ensures improved production efficiencies and continued discovery.

Growing it Agronomically

Because our lines of plants aren’t commonly grown and harvested commercially, our research agronomists and crop production specialists must develop tailored cropping systems. It can take years of field testing to develop machinery, pesticides, herbicides and growing practices that ensure efficient and sustainable growing systems.

Our specialists partner with expert growers and family farmers around the U.S. and the world to scale up and grow our specialty crops. The skill and dedication of our growing partners provides a consistent, reliable supply of our botanicals.

Vertically Integrated Supply Chain for Plant-Based Ingredients

Kemin is one of the most vertically integrated suppliers of plant-based ingredients. Across the supply chain, Kemin controls the breeding, plant selection, growing, harvesting and extraction steps for many our specialty crops.

The vertically integrated supply chain allows Kemin to ensure that every batch of product is consistent. Our customers can expect the same efficacy every time they purchase our plant-based ingredients.



Scientifically Advanced Oregano

·       Oregano is a natural source of carvacrol and thymol, two molecules with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

·       Since 2009, SCI has used conventional breeding methods to develop two patent-pending clonal lines of oregano, one high in carvacrol and the other high in thymol.

        Kemin has more than 1,600 acres of farmland in the heart of Texas, U.S. dedicated to growing oregano.


Certified Sustainably Grown Rosemary

  • Rosemary is a natural source of carnosic acid, a molecule with powerful antioxidant capabilities.
  • Since 1996, SCI has used conventional breeding methods to continually develop lines of proprietary rosemary with high levels of carnosic acid.
  • Kemin uses a sustainable, agronomic growing approach for rosemary that is certified “Sustainably Grown” by SCS Global Services.
  • Kemin partners with expert rosemary growers in Texas, U.S. and New Mexico, U.S. to grow more than 1,100 acres of sustainably grown rosemary each year.
Sustainably Grown Certified Rosemary

Certified Sustainably Grown Spearmint

·       Spearmint is a natural source of rosmarinic acid, a molecule with powerful antioxidant capabilities.

·       Since 2008, SCI has been using conventional breeding methods to continuously develop lines of proprietary spearmint with high levels of rosmarinic acid.

·       Kemin uses a sustainable, agronomic growing approach that is certified “Sustainably Grown” by SCS Global Services.

·       Kemin partners with expert spearmint growers in Indiana, U.S. to raise more than 200 acres of sustainably grown spearmint each year.


Spearmint SCS

Scientifically Advanced Potatoes

·       Potatoes are a natural source of Proteinase Inhibitor II (PI2), a molecule that can trigger satiety signaling and promote feelings of fullness in humans.

·       Since 2009, SCI has been using conventional breeding methods to continually develop lines of potatoes with high levels of PI2.

·       Kemin partners with expert potato growers in Colorado, U.S. and Wisconsin, U.S. to grow 500 total acres of our advanced lines of potatoes each year.

Scientifically Advanced Marigolds

·       Marigolds are a natural source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids with pigmentation and antioxidant benefits.

·       Since 1995, Kemin has been using conventional breeding methods to evolve marigold genetics from open-pollinated varieties to elite hybrids with higher accumulation of lutein and zeaxanthin.

·       Kemin partners with expert marigold growers in India to grow more than 15,000 acres of hybrid marigolds each year.