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Plant Science

As the world’s population continues to grow and resources become more limited, Kemin believes it is our responsibility to continue to discover sustainable methods for producing ingredients that can transform 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 Kemin botanicals displace those made with synthetic chemical reactions.

Kemin’s molecules can be formulated into ingredients that provide benefits across the global animal feed, pet food, food, nutraceutical and commercial horticulture markets.

Our Specialty Crop Improvement Process

The Kemin 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, the Kemin 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 Kemin 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

Since Kemin lines of plants are not 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.

Kemin specialists partner with expert growers and family farmers across the U.S, and around the world to scale up and grow our specialty crops. The skill and dedication of Kemin’s growing partners provide 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.

This allows Kemin to ensure that every batch of products is consistent. Our customers can expect the same efficacy every time they purchase our plant-based ingredients.


Certified Sustainably Grown Rosemary

  • Rosemary is a natural source of carnosic acid, a molecule with powerful antioxidant capabilities. 

  • Since 1996, Kemin’s Specialty Crop Improvement team 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.A. and New Mexico, U.S.A. to produce more than 1,100 acres of sustainably grown rosemary each year. 



Certified Sustainably Grown Spearmint

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

  • Kemin’s Specialty Crop Improvement team has been using conventional breeding methods to continuously develop lines of proprietary spearmint with high levels of rosmarinic acid since 2008. 

  • Use sustainable, agronomic growing approach that is certified “Sustainably Grown” by SCS Global Services.

  • We partner with expert spearmint growers in Indiana, U.S.A. to raise more than 200 acres of sustainably grown spearmint each year.


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.

  • Kemin’s Specialty Crop Improvement team has been using conventional breeding methods to continually develop lines of potatoes with high levels of PI2 since 2009. 

  • Our partners with expert potato growers in Colorado, U.S.A. and Wisconsin, U.S.A. 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.

  • 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 since 1995. 

  • We partner with expert marigold growers in India to cultivate more than 15,000 acres of hybrid marigolds each year.


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