The increasing demand for natural products can have a negative impact on the environment. Concerned about biopiracy and species extinction, the industry is striving to source its raw material in the best way in order to protect the environment—using certified channels, fair trades and, now, plant cell cultures.
Arch Personal Care Products plans to launch its Regenistem line at the 2011 In-cosmetics show in Milan. The Regenistem process allows the company to take only small quantities of plant cells from seeds or leaves, grow them in culture plates and then into bioreactors. The controlled environment allows the company to push the potential of the plants to the limit and manufacture very interesting ingredients.
“The process allows us to harvest rare or old plants and isolate unique actives or enhance the production of them, all while controlling the biomass in the laboratory,” says Vince Gruber, PhD, director of research for Arch Personal Care Ingredients. The process minimizes requirements for harvest and cultivation, which wastes resources and opens the world of opportunity for the industry.The first in this line, Regenistem Rice is an extract from a particular red rice species that is more than 1,000 years old and comes from a high elevation in Nepal.
Brand owners interested in a unique label claim—or simply in the actives and what they can do for the skin—can take advantage of such biotechnological processes. “Brands are driven by unique ideas,” explains Gruber. “Plants that are unique or that grow in unique environments and offer benefits to the skin allow brands to build stories around them.” Driven by innovative companies looking to carve out a niche for all-natural products, the process is renewable, not based on petroleum.
Similarly, Sederma has invested €1 million to create a plant cell culture lab and library, allowing the company a never ending source for molecules of interest by controlling the cultures. After five years of research, Sederma will launch its first product based on plant cell culture that claims substantiated innovative positioning in 2011. The development of products based on plant cell culture doesn’t exploit wild or crop plants, allowing the company to meet evolving consumer needs in a new way. The company has also improved plant extraction with new processes such as supercritical carbon dioxide extraction, which needs limited energy, recycles the gaseous solvent and doesn’t discharge any solvent to the environment.