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Is Microalgae The Next Big Thing In Cosmetics?

February 23, 2016

As residents of this Earth, it is our responsibility to take care of the planet. By adopting more sustainable practices, we can minimize the harm done to the environment through commercial processes. According to Cosmetics Business, through biotechnology, there may be a substance that can revolutionize cosmetic formulations, and even make packaging more sustainable. More details below:

A carbohydrate discovered in microscopic algae could find use in cosmetic products. The substance was discovered by scientists at the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) in Scotland as part of a project designed to highlight the potential impact of industrial biology on the UK economy.

Called Prasinococcus capsulatus, the ingredient has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. It could potentially find use in products such as sunscreens and moisturisers as well as first-aid creams. The ingredient requires only seawater, light and CO2 in order to grow, making it a natural and sustainable option for cosmetic manufacturers.

IBioIC member Glycomar and MicroA have since founded Pasinotech – the first algae refinery built to manufacture these polysaccharides from microalgae. Pasinotech is the first company to expand following support from IBioIC.

Pasinotech plans to create two active ingredients for use in cosmetic skincare products. The two ingredients are expected to have a total annual value of £1m ($1.95m) within three years of production. The IBioIC says that a range of similar ingredients could be created for other industrial biotechnology projects, with potential impact on packaging too. The centre already works with more than 50 companies and 200 academics. It aims to bring an estimated £400m ($782m) to the Scottish economy by 2020.

“Projects like this bring to life exactly what a difference industrial biotechnology can make,” said Roger Kilburn, CEO of IBioIC. He added: “We can take something as simple as algae, which you’d find in a pond or the sea and create products with real healthcare benefits that are sustainable and have a high market value. Almost every market can use industrial biotechnology to create something new, it’s our job to match industry and academic partners to make this happen and speed up the process.”

IBioIC plans to support seven start-ups before 2020 and a further industrial biotechnology Accelerator Programme will run in association with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Who knew the humble microalgae would have so much potential? We hope to see more and more cosmetics companies seeking for alternate, sustainable ingredients to formulate their products. Looking forward to what the two active ingredients will be used for and more information on its properties! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

© 2016 - Cosmetics Business -

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