Since its creation in 2015, Torskal and its partners have been gathering information on local Phyto resources in search of plant species with interesting physicochemical properties allowing the synthesis of nanoparticles. Reunion Island has been listed as a Word Heritage Site by UNESCO and is famous for its biodiversity. It has 246 strictly endemic species among 871 species, which is an endemic rate of 28%. The geographic position of the Island is strategic because it offers a privileged access to a very large range of tropical plants while remaining on the French territory.

The green nanomedicine is a novel concept mainly emerging in North and South Asia, and to a lesser extent in Indian Ocean where medicinal plants are required as bioreducer in modern nanotechnology. This concept presents ecological and scientific aspects. The technological transfer in industrial scale will require no/few synthetic chemical compounds and will cause limited damages on the environment. The metal (gold) is the active principle; medicinal plants are herein used for the design of the nanoparticles and their stabilization before the ligand exchange between targeting moieties and phenolic compounds such as flavonoids.

Plants from Réunion Island

In addition to its Nanotheranostics project where two medicinal plants have been selected to produce its products, Torskal devotes part of its research activities to the screening of new plant species available on Reunion Island and to the development of new nanotheranostic solutions in response to societal expectations.

Prior to the selection of the plant, we considered the possible in vivo side effects induced by the plant extracts either by dissociation of physisorbed molecules during the vectorization or by nonspecific targeting of the tumor area. The choice of medicinal plants was done according to the medicinal property of the plant used, and ecological criteria. The Asteraceae plant herein studied is well known in traditional medicine in Reunion Island. In external and internal use this plant is recommended for skin problem as eczema. We focused on ecological or green extraction of natural products which based on the design of extraction process that will reduce energy consumption and eliminate petroleum solvents, while ensuring a safe and high-quality extract.

Endemicity status of the native flora of Reunion Island

Endemicity status of the native flora of Reunion Island | Source: CBNM, 2016

About twenty medicinal plants registered in the French pharmacopeia, all cultivated in the Indian Ocean zone, have already been studied by Torskal with the aim of replacing chemical compounds in the synthesis of nanoparticles and in order to better benefit from their effect.

Nanoparticles made with medicinal plants from Indian Ocean for phototherapy, acts of Cipam 10, sept 2019, is under review.