Researchers in Greece are cultivating and processing microalgae as a source of new chemicals and enzymes for cosmetic products.
There are more than 30 000 species of marine microalgae, but almost none of these have been investigated for potential food, feed and health products. In fact, very few microalgae have even been cultivated for further study.
The EU-funded 'Exploitation of microalgae diversity for the development of novel high added-value cosmeceuticals' (ALGAECOM) project is exploring new species of microalgae for potential cosmeceuticals. These are compounds that can be used as cosmetic products but which have some beneficial biological activity as well.
During the first project period scientists set up many of the systems needed to discover new compounds. This included establishing a high-throughput platform to study the compounds and enzymes in new species of algae.
ALGAECOM also developed the protocols needed to extract algal polysaccharides, screen for useful enzyme activity, and test new compounds for bioactivity. Perhaps most importantly, they have established the conditions for industrial-scale production of various microalgae.
The project will now use these novel tools to search for potential new bioactive compounds. Those showing promise will be further advanced into commercially available cosmeceutical products.
Provided by Cordis