Start-up enters skin-deep beauty sector with algae ingredient

The ingredient, branded EPS-Revive, is produced from the red algae in a lab environment using photobioreactor technology

Marine cultivation start-up Yemoja has introduced an algae-derived external polysaccharide sulphate (EPS) for the skin-deep beauty sector. This topically applied bioactive ingredient from the Porphyridium cruentum species of microalgae is reportedly in high demand by the cosmetics industry for its anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and rejuvenating properties.

The ingredient, branded EPS-Revive, is produced from the red algae in a lab environment using photobioreactor technology.

The growth of the global cosmetics industry is driving discovery and research for natural compounds within the marine biosphere. The sea environment has been generating interest in recent years as a potential source of skin-health benefits, Yemoja says, owing to its biological and chemical diversity. Available peer-reviewed research data point to the soluble EPS fraction’s antioxidant, moisturizing, and anti-ageing activities, the company claims.

“More and more companies are working to create an ‘all-natural’ brand by using plant based or algae-based substances, with emphasis on ‘green’ processes and chemical-free end products,” said Erez Ashkenazi, CEO of Yemoja. “While the demand for the product is high, Yemoja is a rare player in that we can provide a steady supply of the valuable and standardized raw material. We cultivate only natural wild-strain algae through an automated, fully controlled and contaminant-free downstream process. We use no chemicals or solvents, and we do not exploit any natural resources from the environment.”

Yemoja’s closed-cultivation system means there’s no dependency on external environmental factors or impact from climate fluctuations, enabling the company to provide its products all year round customised per the desired composition; the product can be delivered at variable concentrations in gel form or delivered as pure powder. The company can also increase the amount of sulphate bound to the EPS using unique protocols that take place during the cultivation phase of the algae.

“EPS molecules are synthesised within the red Porphyridium cruentum microalgae under high-stress conditions,” said Amikam Bar-Gill, PhD, CTO of Yemoja. “This exerts a protective mechanism that safeguards the algae’s cells from dehydration, pH shifts, and bacterial infections. During cultivation the EPS is secreted by the algae and dissolved within the growth media — seawater — which is later separated from the biomass for ultra-filtration in order to concentrate the EPS into its final gel form.”

The biomass that was earlier separated undergoes an additional process in order to produce another product, the intercellular polysaccharide sulphated (IPS). This product is still under research and development and is believed to hold potential for cosmetic use, the company says.

A recent ex-vivo trial has reportedly endorsed the anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects of EPS Revive. In the study, the EPS was shown to preserve the integrity of the connective tissue between the dermal layers in a depleted culture medium. The company says its sulphate content and structure is what makes EPS a successful reactive oxygen species scavenger and protects the skin from ageing. It also inhibited various inflammatory markers, specifically TNF-a and IL6 cytokines.

EPS-Revive has undergone clinical trials in Gdansk, Poland, with results supporting its safety for topical use. It is formulated to be easily integrated into creams and lotions and various other topical applications. Further clinical trials are in the works over the next year to evaluate all the effects of this product for maintaining skin-health with regards to all skin-types.

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