South Korean propolis expert Yongkap Hur succeeds the world’s first third generation propolis extraction

신태섭 기자l승인2021.11.25






▲ Unique Bio Tech / CEO Yongkap Hur


Higher plants are plants that have vascular tissues to evolve to a larger size. As opposed to higher plants, lower plants are non-vascular plants. All higher plants contain rich flavonoid and polyphenol which are produced to protect the plants from infection. Around 4,000 kinds of flavonoids and 7,000 kinds of polyphenols are reported to exist in the natural world. Propolis is known as bee glue and is a resinous mixture that honey bees produce. Propolis improves thermal insulation, reduces water loss, and protects the hive from pathogens, parasites and predators. Propolis contains around 67 to 124 kinds of flavonoid, 180 kinds of polyphenol and 200 to 300 kinds of nutrients. When used for humans, propolis can have anti-inflammation, anti-cancer and antibacterial effects. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety recognized propolis as a substance to help antibacterial and antioxidant in the mouth. 


[Extraction of Propolis]

Propolis is sticky resin and insoluble in water. For this reason, it makes hard for humans to extract. Extraction methods, therefore, often decide the quality of the propolis product. Generally, experts in the field extract propolis with alcohol. It is the first generation method. The problem is that the alcohol content remains in the proplis as it is. This limits making propolis into health functional products. “Around 40% of propolis products in the market on the globe are made by this first generation extraction method. They contain 50 to 70% alcohol which is not appropriate for children, aged and patients to take” says Yongkap Hur, CEO of Unique Bio Tech. Thus born was the second generation extraction method commonly practiced in Australia, Canada and New Zealand: reducing alcohol content and use instead emulsifier for propolis to be easily melted in water. Problem yet is that up to 40% of emulsifier or synthetic additives remains which again is inappropriate for children, aged and patients to take. “The second method in fact is worse than the first due to additives. Travelers buying propolis products overseas are highly possibly made from this second method” says Hur. 


[Unique Bio Tech]

Unique Bio Tech is a South Korean propolis venture. In 2016, the company wowed the industry experts by introducing the third generation propolis extraction method for the first time in the world. It is eco-friendly water soluble method that contains no alcohol or additives. Obtaining a patent, the company also received New Excellent Technology (NET) certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. NET is given to a technology unprecedented and the developer must go through 3 approvals: 1) interviews with the judges consisted of 15 university professors in the field 2) on-site demonstration and inspection 3) interviews with the judges of external experts in the field. Unique Bio Tech is not only the first propolis company that obtained NET in the nation but it has made South Korea the most advanced propolis extraction technology holder in the world. Not surprisingly, Unique Bio Tech propolis products are being exported to US, Australia, Poland, Turkey, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. 



Here are products produced by Unique Bio Tech: water soluble powder, health food ingredients, health functional food, daily supplies such toothpaste and spray, feed additives and ingredients for medicine and medical supplies. South Korean big shots such as LG Household & Health Care, Lott Chilsung, SuHeung, NOVAREX, Cosmax Bio, Kolmar Korea and Clpharm are major clients. 


[From B2B to UniBee]

Advanced technology secured, Unique Bio Tech is now turning B2B-driven to launching its own brands. This month, the company is expected to see release of delicious propolis under the brand name ‘UniBee’. UniBee already has registered trade mark in South Korea and the US and is in the process in Vietnam and China. UniBee is mild in taste and flavor and has no fishy smell. 



Yongkap Hur had a chance to know propolis at the FOODEX Japan in 1994 since which he has devoted his life to becoming one of the best propolis experts in the world today. He established Unique Bio Tech in 2012 and has engaged in 25 propolis research projects supported by the government. He has given 20 times of presentation in numerous seminars and fairs home and abroad. He is a founding member of the World Propolis Science Forum that has been running for 7 years. He has contributed to standardizing propolis tests and obtained 10 propolis patents, the biggest number in the nation as an individual. Hur graduated from Seoul National University. (PowerKorea)


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