Forage Genetics, Inc., and NuTein Companies, Inc., have formally agreed to work together to optimize lutein production in alfalfa.

Lutein is a natural substance that helps prevent age-related macular degeneration, a debilitating eye disease, when used as a dietary supplement.

Under the agreement, Forage Genetics will identify alfalfa germplasm containing higher levels of lutein, manage alfalfa to maximize lutein levels, and deliver the improved crop to NuTein for processing.

The alfalfa breeding company also will invest in NuTein, and will be issued warrants to buy NuTein stock at a future date.

NuTein has operated a pilot lutein extraction plant in Cozad, NE, for the past two years, and will immediately begin scaling up to full production.

“We're pleased that Forage Genetics and NuTein have developed this synergistic relationship,” says Mark McCaslin, Forage Genetics president. “NuTein allows us to leverage our existing strength in alfalfa seed and crop production by aligning ourselves with an emerging alfalfa nutraceutical company.”