Mannosylerythritol lipids (MELs) are produced from vegetable oils by different strains of the genus Pseudozyma at a yield of over 100g per litre, according to the researchers.
As they have a similar structure and biochemical action to ceramides, commonly used skin moisturising ingredients, the scientists decided to investigate the effects of the compounds on damaged skin.
The team, led by Tomotake Morita of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Ibaraki, Japan, used a three dimensional cultured human skin model in order to investigate the compound’s effects on the skin.
With soybean oil as a substrate, the scientists used the yeast Pseudozyma Antarctica to produce MELs, which were then purified leaving only MEL-A for the experiment.
Cells in the human skin model were damaged by the detergent sodium docecyl sulphate (SDS) before being treated with different concentrations of MEL-A, with ceramide and olive oil as controls.
Cells not damaged by SDS were used as a benchmark control to which the effect of the treatments could be compared.
Recovery of damaged cells
According to the study, 5 per cent MEL-A and 10 per cent MEL-A led to a recovery rate of 73 and 91 per cent respectively.
Although the effect of the MEL-A is not as significant as the 100 per cent recovery seen with the 1 per cent ceramide, their ability to induce cell recovery is significantly higher than that of olive oil which had little effect.
Furthermore, the researchers claim that the commercial production of ceramides is challenging, whereas MEL-A is produced in abundant quantities by the yeast strains.
The quantity of natural ceramides in organisms is very limited and large-scale production of synthetic ceramides, which usually involves the acylation of the amine group of sphinganine and its derivatives, is ‘tedious and time consuming’, they added.
In conclusion, Morita and the team state that MEL-A has great potential as a novel skin care material, as it possess good moisturising potential and an advantage in large scale preparation.
Source: Journal of Oleo Science
2009, vol 58, issue 12, pages 639-642
A Yeats glycolipid biosurfactant, mannosylerythriotol lipid, shows potential moisturising activity toward cultured human skin cells: the recovery effect of MEL-A on the SDS-damaged human skin cells
Tomotake Morita, Masaru Kitagawa, Michiko Suzuki, Shuhei Yamamoto, Atsushi Sogabe, Shusaku Yanagidani, Tomohiro Imura, Tokuma Fukuoka, Dai Kitamoto