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The Future is Here

By: Sara Mason
Posted: March 3, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The next generation of antioxidants, however, is new. Anthocyanins—a class of compounds called flavonoids—are water-soluble pigments found in colorful fruits, and act as powerful antioxidants helping to protect plants from UV damage. They are also part of a larger group of compounds called polyphenols, which have been shown to be strong antioxidants with potential health benefits. “Anthocyanins are botanically derived compounds that represent the next ‘super fruit’ class of phytochemical ingredients,” says Frank L. Jaksch Jr., co-founder and CEO of ChromaDex. “This novel and ‘green’ technology will enable suppliers to selectively and cost-effectively manufacture these ingredients and make them commercially available for the first time.”

Anthocyanins are only available as crude extracts—acai, bilberry, black currant, cranberry, for example—which can be expensive and inconsistent. And getting the pure extract from natural biomass is complicated. ChromaDex has been working on selective methods of manufacturing anthocyanins for more than eight years. The company has determined that a novel process of fermentation would be the most efficient and most sustainable way to produce isolated compounds rather than combinations of the compounds extracted from the plant. ChromaDex is completing the commercial development of the technology, first focusing on the production of cyanidin-3-O-glucoside (C-3-G).

Cyanidin, like other anthocyanidins, has supposed antioxidant and radial-scavenging effects that may protect cells from oxidative damage and can be used in cosmetic applications.

Stem Cell Technology

As we age, skin repair is indeed less efficient. However, the potential for skin rejuvenation is available via plant stem cell technology. “Plant stem cells can provide excellent beneficial support to the skin’s own stem cells,” says CoValence’s Walker. “They can produce higher concentrations of specific antioxidant and protein metabolites through eliciting factors like UV radiation or jasmonic acid [a plant hormone involved in growth inhibition and senescence] than the source plant, for example.”

Applications in cosmetics are widespread and—when used for purposes such as moisturizing, whitening, acne or rosacea treatments, radical scavenging, UV protec- tion, collagen promotion and revitalizing dull skin—can be very successful.