FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ACS News Service Weekly PressPac: Fri Mar 19 16:42:03 EDT 2010

Fats for health and beauty Giving soybean oil a new role in serving society

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, March 23, 12:45 p.m., Eastern Time

Scientists today reported development of a new method for converting soybean oil into a highly effective bio-based sunscreen active ingredient that does not carry the potential health concerns of ingredients in some existing sunscreens. The new, natural sunscreen agent could replace petroleum-derived ingredients in a variety of personal-care products, they reported at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) being held here this week.

Joseph Laszlo, Ph.D., who headed the research, pointed out that sales of sunscreens and other skin-care products that protect against the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) light have been booming. Driving the multi-billion-dollar-per-year market are consumers who are better informed about the link between overexposure to the sun and skin cancer and sunlight’s effects in giving skin an aged appearance. At the same time, however, concerns have arisen over certain ingredients in today’s mainstay sunscreens.

Laszlo and colleagues have developed technology for converting soybean oil into a biobased active ingredient for sunscreen products. It involves incorporating ferulic acid, found naturally in hundreds of plants, into soybean oil. The use of ferulic acid along with vegetable oil produces a water-resistant material capable of absorbing both UV- A and UVB light. In addition, it can be used as an anti-aging and anti-wrinkle product, Laszlo said. Called feruloyl soy glycerides (FSG), the material is produced commercially by iSoy Technologies Corporation and used in several cosmetic products in the U.S. and Asia.


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Soybeans could provide consumers
with safer sunscreens and other
personal care products.
Credit: US Dept. of Agriculture
(High-resolution version)