GlycoSurf, a startup that works under the aegis of the University of Arizona, has recently signed an agreement for technology that enables the chemical synthesis of glycolipids. This could create new avenues for a more sustainable replacement for surfactants which are normally used in cosmetics. The innovative platform technology will help enable the chemical synthesis of eco-friendly surfactant families (also known as biosurfactants). The greatest advantage that biosurfactants have is that they are non-toxic and make for an ideal alternative to their petroleum-based counterparts.
Today, biosurfactants find uses in a variety of applications ranging from cosmetics to personal care products to enhanced recovery of oil to cleaning up oil spills. This new technology is now ready to be taken to the market, and will likely be applied in the cosmeceuticals segment.
The team at GlycoSurf says that the differentiating aspect of their technology is that it helps produce biosurfactants at a lower cost without making the process labor-intensive, as it currently is. Moreover, current biosurfactants that are produced are also relatively low in purity. The team’s technique of producing sugar-based surfactants produces results that are often 99% pure and always more than 95% pure.
The startup says that it will initially focus its research and development efforts on the cosmeceuticals market, especially on products such as sunscreen lotions and anti-aging creams. According to market research reports published recently, the global surfactants market is poised to be worth over US$ 41 billion by 2018, and is forecast to register growth rates of over 4% every year there on.