Avocado husks could be source for numerous cosmetic ingredients
New research has found that husks from avocado seeds contain numerous compounds which can be extracted for use in a variety of applications, including cosmetic and personal care products.
Avocados are produced in huge numbers in tropical climates across the world – amounting to an estimated 5 million tons every year, but whereas the nutrient rich flesh is readily consumed, the seed husks are rarely used for anything and end up being thrown out.
However, first-of-its-kind research by scientists from the American Chemical Society, has discovered that by crushing and processing large quantities of the husks waxes and oils were derived that contained well over 100 compounds – many of which could have industrial and medicinal applications.
Don’t throw that husk away!
The research was headed up by Debasish Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D and a group of scientists at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley whose objective waws to find out more about what avocado processor are missing when they discard these seed husks.
"It could very well be that avocado seed husks, which most people consider as the waste of wastes, are actually the gem of gems because the medicinal compounds within them could eventually be used to treat cancer, heart disease and other conditions," said Bandyopadhyay.
"Our results also suggest that the seed husks are a potential source of chemicals used in plastics and other industrial products."
Scientists replicate husk processing
To carry out the study, the group of researchers took the husks of 300 avocado seeds and derived 21 ounces of powder.
The next step of the processing saw the powder further processed to yield three teaspoons of seed husk oil and one ounce of seed husk wax, which the team learnt contained 116 compounds and 16 compounds respectively.
Of those compounds, perhaps the most interesting for the cosmetics and personal care industry was the presence of behenyl alcohol in the oil – an ingredient that is readily used in cosmetic and personal care products, including sunscreen, moisturizer, BB cream and eyeliner, most commonly to regulate viscosity.
In the wax the researchers discovered butyl benzyl phthalate, a palasticizer that is often used for nail varnishes.
The researchers say that behenyl alcohol can also be used the growth of tumour cells, and that medical applications for the compounds will probably form the focus of future research on the project.