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Frost & Sullivan's 2004 Product Innovation Award for Prebiotics goes to Larex Inc.

Frost & Sullivan's recent analysis, Strategic Analysis of the U.S. Prebiotics Markets, selected Larex, Inc., as the recipient of the 2004 Product Innovation Award for the development of its key product Larch Arabinogalactan (AG). FiberAidR AG is one of the principal soluble fibers in the prebiotic fiber market and has several unique properties.

Every year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in new products and technologies within its industry. The award acknowledges innovation through launching a new broad line of emerging products and technologies.

AG is a natural polysaccharide with a molecular weight of about 20,000 Daltons ?is found in uniquely high concentrations in the North American larch trees. Larex, in conjunction with several timber companies, uses the harvested larch tree as a source for extractable AG. An aqueous, patented water-wood-and-steam process extracts the AG while spent wood fiber is recycled back to the industry for use in several wood products.

"AG is extracted and purified through a patented and proprietary process to deliver functionally optimized products," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Haricharan Desai. "Larex's manufacturing facility is 'current Good Manufacturing Practice' (cGMP)-audited with a superior rating from the American Institute of Baking."

AG has many unique features. It is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for food applications and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a source of dietary fiber. It has high aqueous solubility (up to 70 percent), broad range pH and temperature stability, high salt compatibility, and low viscosity.

Larex's FiberAidR AG is positioned as a multi-functional prebiotic fiber with beneficial impact on the gastrointestinal system. FiberAid is a slowly fermenting prebiotic fiber that preferentially increases beneficial microflora such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria while decreasing endogenous pathogenic bacteria.

AG has neutral color/odor/taste profiles, is readily biodegradable, and has Newtonian rheology (that is, it follows Newtonian fluid properties). It is an effective emulsifier, dispersant, and rheology control additive for the industrial market.

Larex has associations with some of the top research laboratories in the United States including the Universities of Minnesota, Montana, Illinois Urbana Campus, Purdue, and Kentucky, and also the Southwest College Research Institute, and Health East Care System Clinics in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. The company allocates a significant portion of its revenues in carrying out clinical studies in human and animal health nutrition, personal care, and safety affirmation.

Larex also has a strong portfolio of Fortune 100 companies including Kraft, Pepsi, Coke, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson to name a few that have incorporated AG into their products and delivery systems.

"With a state-of-the-art, fully automated 20,000 square foot manufacturing facility that is capable of producing eight million pounds of AG per year, Larex is undoubtedly the market leader in the AG segment," says Desai. "Its focus on product innovation and leadership is noteworthy and deserves recognition."

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