Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Agricultural wastes yield biosurfactants for biocosmetics

12.03.2012
Large quantities of plant stalks, fruit and vegetable skins, husks and pods occur as waste in organic farming. In an EU-funded project researchers at the Fraunhofer IGB, in cooperation with international partners from science and industry, intend to use this waste to produce biosurfactants for natural cosmetics.

Surfactants are found in cleaning agents and detergents, also in cosmetics. Shampoos, shower gels and bath additives consist of up to 40 percent surfactants. They reduce the surface tension of water, so that oil can be mixed with water. Annually about 18 million tonnes of surfactants are manufactured, mainly by chemical means and on a petroleum base.


Agricultural wastes from certified producers will provide biosurfactants for cosmetic products.

A quarter is now manufactured from the oils of renewable resources, generally coconut or palm kernel oil. Microorganisms also produce washing-active substances that are called biosurfactants. However, only few of these biosurfactants are manufactured industrially, since their production is still comparatively expensive.

In order to make biosurfactants economically profitable for natural cosmetics, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB are developing a sustainable, cost-cutting production process in an EU-funded project. This project was launched on 1st January 2012 and is named “O4S – Sustainable surfactant production from renewable resources through natural fermentation for applications in natural, organically-certified products”.

For this purpose, the researchers intend to use wastes containing cellulose or oil and residual materials from organic farming as resources for a biotechnological process. Cellulose is a natural polymer consisting of sugar units which occurs in all plant components. If cellulose is converted into its basic building block glucose, the sugar molecules are available to the microorganisms as a substrate. “Various bacteria and fungi form biosurfactants from these sugars or also oils under natural conditions. The microorganisms can be cultivated in a bioreactor and the biosurfactants obtained industrially,” explains the biologist and engineer Susanne Zibek.

In the project first of all various naturally occurring strains of microorganisms are examined with regard to their potential applications. Important parameters for the fermentation process are: which strains can be cultivated in a stable manner in the bioreactor, which surfactants they produce and in what quantities. A further challenge for the researchers is the economical and, at the same time, ecological purification of the substances from the fermentation broth. “Here we will only use resource-conserving conversion and processing methods,” explains Dr. Ana Lucia Vasquez, who coordinates the project with all the partners. In comparison with conventionally produced detergents from petroleum resources, biosurfactants are environmentally more sustainable, biocompatible and biodegradable. Because of their more complex structure they can potentially have a greater range of effects. Some biosurfactants even have an antimicrobial effect which, as a component of cleaning agents, makes them interesting for skin care. Other surfactants are foaming agents and bind dirt, which is why they occur in shower gels and shampoos. The biosurfactants, which are produced observing strict ecological regulations, could also be used for applications in the food industry and pharmaceutical sector, also in restoration of the environment after oil disasters and the detoxification of wastewater.

“The use of waste products from organic farming both reduces the production costs and also ensures the sustainability of the biosurfactants,” says Vasquez. “We will accompany all the certification steps. In this way large quantities of waste from certified ecological farming can be used effectively.” In the EU ecologically certified products have to consist of at least 70 percent organically produced components, and foodstuffs even 95 percent. In order to guarantee this, the researchers of the Fraunhofer IGB work together with partners such as NATRUE: International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association (BE), Naturland – Verband for ökologischen Landbau e.V. (DE) and Green Sugar (DE) as well as Intelligent Formulation (UK), Farfalla Essentials (CH), Grüne Erde (AT), Biotrend (PT), Cremer Oleo (DE), VITO (BE), Institut Dr. Schrader Creachem (DE), Asociacion Riojana Profesional de Agricultura Ecologica (ES) and Cevkor Vakfi (TR).

Dr. Ana Lucia Vásquez-Caicedo | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:
http://www.igb.fraunhofer.de/en/press-media/press-releases/2012/agricultural-wastes-yield-biosurfactants-for-biocosmetics.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex

nachricht New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Superconducting vortices quantize ordinary metal

Russian researchers together with their French colleagues discovered that a genuine feature of superconductors -- quantum Abrikosov vortices of supercurrent -- can also exist in an ordinary nonsuperconducting metal put into contact with a superconductor. The observation of these vortices provides direct evidence of induced quantum coherence. The pioneering experimental observation was supported by a first-ever numerical model that describes the induced vortices in finer detail.

These fundamental results, published in the journal Nature Communications, enable a better understanding and description of the processes occurring at the...

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rapid water formation in diffuse interstellar clouds

25.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Using tree-fall patterns to calculate tornado wind speed

25.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Stealth' material hides hot objects from infrared eyes

25.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>