Bio-engineered ingredients in the quest for more sustainable yet effective actives

The role of Bio-engineered ingredients in the quest for more sustainable yet effective actives

The sustainability of a product is has since become an important factor in the products that we consume. As we watch the World trundle along the tracks of mass-consumerism with seemingly unstoppable inertia, everyone is trying to do their part to look for clever ways to help ease the burden on the Earth, with minimal impact to our convenience.

In the last few decades, raw materials in the personal care industry has seen a shift toward natural sources. Natural seemed better for the user, less ‘chemical’ and foreign. But although using naturally sourced products may be all well and good for us, what was it doing to the Earth? How sustainable is that super rare active ingredient that is extracted from that very hard to grow plant that we are trying to cultivate, organically?

Crops that grow and produce bio-actives for skincare, of course, use land and large amounts of water. Even more so if they have to comply to organic regulations. With the popularity of such bio-actives, the burden on the environment is slowly increasing. Manufacturing procedures are constantly reworked and improved to increase output to meet demand.

Here’s where  Bio-technology comes in.  Bio-technology adapt processes that are already utilised in nature. We’ve turned to natural products, why not use natural processes as well? Fermentation is one of the oldest examples of bio-technology, where a raw material is converted in to a functional material induced through enzymatic reactions. It can be done in a controlled environment and when designed well, raw material and product waste can be  reduced. Bio-engineering procedures are a sustainable alternative to produce bioactives as much less resources are used to obtain the same yield.

The rise of Archaea as sustainable source for multifunctional bio actives

HALOTEK have focused on developing the biotechnological potential of Halobacterium salinarum and other extremophilic microbes

Halobacterium salinarum one of the best characterised organisms from the Archaea kingdom. Physically, they look like bacteria, but upon deeper inspection, they are really quite different. One of the main differences between Bacteria and Archaea, is their cell wall. The make-up and composition of the Archaeon cell wall have allowed these organisms to thrive in extreme environments such as in areas with high salinity, temperatures, pH and UV exposure. These microorganisms are so hardy, that they are thought to be able to live in outer space!

To cope with extreme conditions, the cell wall of Halobacterium salinarum develop high levels of proteoglycans, remarkably stable lipids and cell protecting carotenoids, all of which are its secret to its longevity. The proteoglycans and stable lipids help strengthen and bolster the cell wall. This allows the  cell wall to retain water, and prevent water loss from inside the cell. These cell wall components also show protective biological activities on human skin. The carotenoids found in the cell wall have powerful anti-oxidant capacity to neutralise free radicals and effectively protect DNA and skin cells from UV-light damage.

If we could extract these components, they could be used as powerful skincare actives, however, growing Halobacterium salinarum under the right conditions to produce such molecules can be quite difficult.

Are Archaea the secret to Sustainable actives?

HALOTEK have successfully developed a way to solve this issue sustainably. They have used bioprocess methods to extract these compounds whilst leaving only a small ecological footprint. The bio-process platform that HALOTEK uses to produce their active materials require much less water, energy and land compared to conventional plant crops. Measures have been actively  put in place to reduce the amount of waste and the starter materials chosen are renewable, recyclable and local.

HALOTEK have extracted and refined HALORUBIN and HALOCARE, from this hardy Archaea, as effective skincare actives.

HALORUBIN is characterized by its significant protective effect on DNA structures, and is also one of the most stable and most powerful antioxidants, not only among carotenoids, with good stability against exposure to light and temperature.

These excellent properties make HALORUBIN particularly recommended for use in anti‐aging, antipollution, sun care and after sun formulations.

HALOCARE is an multifunctional active that contains a defined mixture of sulphated proteoglycans and lipids. These natural sulphated proteoglycans show a remarkably high similarity with glycans of the human skin. In stressed and mature skin,  glycan level decreases, which leads to loss of water. HALOCARE can immediately replace the level of glycans to refresh the water‐binding capacity of the upper skin layers, maintaining optimal hydration. Furthermore, HALOCARE is able to control the proliferation of human fibroblasts, which are responsible for the formation of collagen, an important factor in the care of mature and stressed skin. HALOCARE also increases the production of Glutathione in the skin and it is present in high concentrations in almost all cells.  It is one of the most important substances that protect cells from oxidative stress and environmental toxins, especially heavy metals.

Powerful bio-actives can still be produces at a lower cost to the Earth! HALORUBIN and HALOCARE are both available in the UK exclusively through Chemox Pound. Please contact for more detailed technical information for these actives.