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Husks of berries can have antimicrobial effect in cosmetics

By Lucy Whitehouse + , 11-Aug-2017

Husks of berries can have antimicrobial effect in cosmetics

A research centre in Finland has claimed that the husks of berry seeds may be used in cosmetics to prevent the growth of harmful microbes.

As the hunt for alternative preservatives continues in the beauty industry, the research meets demand for ingredients that can also boast natural credentials. The innovation taps into the rising demand for skin care solutions that work with the skin’s natural biome.

On top of that, reusing waste materials - berry husks are found in plentiful supply as press cakes from the food industry, particularly from the juice segment - responds to rising consumer demand for beauty products with strong sustainability profiles.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a method of recovering active substances from seed husks that can be used in cosmetics and skin care products.

“Cosmetics trends include the maintenance of healthy skin and replacement of preservatives with natural compounds,” says Riitta Puupponen-Pimiä, Principal Scientist at VTT.

“Berry seed husks contain large amounts of antimicrobial compounds which can help to maintain a natural microbial balance in the skin, by suppressing the growth of harmful microbes while beneficial ones flourish. This is based on nature’s way of protecting seeds from threats such as fungi.”

What’s the method?

VTT says it has developed a seed sanding method, most suitable for large seed berries, for enriching compounds that suppress the growth of harmful bacteria. The team states that 20% of a cloudberry seed’s weight can be sanded using this method.

It employs hydrothermal extraction technology to extract from seed husk fractions, and VTT says the method involves no toxic reagents or solvents. The research centre has also developed a wet milling method for small-seed berries.

“We have investigated how the microbes typically found in human skin and those that hide in cosmetics products react to polyphenols contained in berries. At a general level, you could say that seed husk fractions and the resulting extracts prevent harmful microbial growth in the skin, but do not suppress the growth of good microbes,” says Puupponen-Pimiä.

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