Marine cultivation start-up Yemoja, Ltd., introduces its algae-derived external polysaccharide sulphate (EPS) serving the skin-deep beauty sector. This topically applied bioactive ingredient from the Porphyridium cruentum species of microalgae is in high demand by the cosmetics industry for its naturally tendering anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and rejuvenating properties.
The ingredient, branded EPS-Revive, is the first bio-active ingredient to be produced from the red algae in a tightly controlled lab environment using high-precision and fast-track photobioreactor technology. This launch brings to market new levels of quality, yield, and consistency.
The cosmetics market is forecast to hit USD 430 in global sales by 2022, powered by increasing consumer demand for natural products. This is driving the discovery and research of new natural compounds within the marine biosphere. The sea environment has been generating heightened recognition in recent years as a promising source of skin-health benefits due to its rich biological and chemical diversity. Available peer-reviewed research data point to the soluble EPS fraction's prodigious antioxidant, moisturizing, and anti-ageing activities.
"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," notes 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 deployment of this unique closed-cultivation system means there's no dependency on external environmental factors or impact from climate fluctuations, enabling the company to provide the cosmetics market with high-quality EPS all year round customized exactly per the desired composition; the product can be delivered at variable concentrations in gel form or delivered as pure powder. Furthermore, Yemoja possesses the capability to 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 synthesized within the red Porphyridium cruentum microalgae under high-stress conditions," explains 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."
Repurposing waste creates a new cosmetic treasure
The biomass that was earlier separated undergoes an additional process in order to produce another treasured product, the intercellular polysaccharide sulphated (IPS). This product is still under research and development and is believed to hold extremely high potential for cosmetic use; the IPS contains all the benefits of EPS with the inclusion of the algae's red pigment, phycoerythrin. This pigment has already proven to have an immune-modulation activity (Wang et al., 2020). This product can be added into natural cosmetics formulations as an active ingredient as well as colorant.
EPS under research for skin care
A recent ex-vivo trial has already 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. It is believed that its sulphate content and structure is what renders it an excellent reactive oxygen species scavenger and protects the skin from aging. It also inhibited various inflammatory markers, specifically TNF-a and IL6 cytokines.
EPS-Revive already 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.
"We are exploring possibilities for integrating our aqueous solution into food supplements and branching out to the beauty-from-within sector," adds Ashkenazi. "Porphyridium polysaccharide is a potent antioxidant and effective anti-inflammatory agent that bears a high affinity to skin support and already is in use in nearly 300 cosmetic formulations worldwide. We also plan to investigate its possible capacity for alleviating medical dermal issues, such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis in the near future", concludes Bar-Gil.