According to the Slovenian natural extract company, merguez and chipolata sausages have a high fat content, which makes them particularly susceptible to oxidation. The oxidation process can bring about changes in taste and smell, particularly rancidity. Typical ingredients used to prevent these changes in sausages are citric and ascorbic acid. But given the current sway against artificial preservatives from consumers - and, as a result, from food producers - there is a call for natural solutions to such problems. Tests have indicated that the sausages' shelf life can be extended by 65 to 80 per cent compared to sausages with no preservative. A company spokesperson was not available before publication of this article to translate this into actual days. But Vitiva claims this performance even exceeds that of citric and ascorbic acid. "Our new formulation offers manufacturers an effective yet natural solution to fight oxidative changes in fresh, traditional merguez sausages, together with a great opportunity to employ a clean label," said Vitiva CEO Ohad Cohen. The company first started talking about its Vivox range in October 2006, just after the publication of an article in the September 2006 Journal of Food Science which described the potential of the antioxidant and antimicrobial effects of oil-soluble rosemary extracts Vivox 20 and Vivox 4 against lipid oxidation and microbial growth in vacuum-packed chicken frankfurters, compared to a commercially available preservative and a control product made without additives. Vitiva said that the results expressed as APC (CFU/g) clearly showed both Vivox 20 and Vivox 4 possess antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that may make them suitable for meat applications in the food industry. Vivox formulations, which are made up mostly of carnosic acid combined with other polyphenols. Other formulations in the line has previously used as natural microbial agents for processed chicken and other poultry products. In addition, Vitiva has a carnosic acid and antioxidant-based range called Inolens 4, with very low bitterness and rosemary flavour; a rosmarinic acid range called Aquarox used to extend shelf life of prawns and for nutraceuticals, and Ursole, primarily for cosmetic uses. Last September Vitiva announced the addition of new production lines to its natural extracts facility, giving it 70 per cent more capacity to help meet demand. It also said it is considering acquiring another company so it can support demand with a second facility. Whilst Vivox, Aquarox, Inolens and Ursole are its main growth promoters, it is also eyeing opportunities in other extracts, such as high-purity lutein. Vitiva entered the lutein market last year with the launch of encapsulated VitaLutS, which is said to allow for smaller, more manageable, forms than previous industry standards.