Totara amaze

Old stumps and fence posts are the source of a powerful antimicrobial worth millions of dollars.

An antimicrobial extract from totara trees has had worldwide success, but the man behind it wants more.

Carterton businessman Doug Mende has been working for 17 years to prove the efficacy of totarol, an antimicrobial extract from totara trees that is now marketed worldwide and appears in products ranging from toothpaste to anti-acne cream.

His company, Mende Biotech, supplies the ingredient to more than 30 companies, including French cosmetic giant L’Oréal. A global consumer trend towards natural healthcare has resulted in some of his customers substantially increasing their sales, with oral care now replacing cosmetics as the biggest use of totarol.

Read more