Soybean wastage becomes next cosmetics ingredient

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Japanese company Bernet International is turning waste from soybean
processing into a base ingredient for cosmetic applications using
newly developed biotechnology, reports Simon Pitman.

The technology, which was developed in co-operation with Osaka Prefectural University, uses extract from the sediment, which produces a moisturizing substance that has been named 'soyfun'. According to a report in the Daily Yomiuri the process could go along away towards recycling tofu wastage, that would otherwise be thrown out.

Currently it is estimated that around 1 million tonnes of soybean wastage is generated in Japan alone, the majority of which has to be disposed of as industrial waste at significant expense to companies.

So far products developed using soyfun have included a hoast of soap-based products which went on sale in Japan last year and are reported to have been well received.

Soyfun has now been registered with the US FDA as tofu extract, which qualifies it for both food and cosmetic applications.

The newspaper also reports that beautification and anti-wrinkling supplements containing Soyfun, collagen, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin should also go on sale in Japan in May.

Osaka-based Bernet International began developing solutions for soybean wastage back in 2001, when the Osaka Prefectural Tofu Association asked the local government to help it out with the disposal of tofu waste.

The problem for tofu manufacturers is that soybean wastage is classified as an industrial waste, which means it is considerably more expensive to dispose of. Rather than paying for the disposal, the new solution for cosmetics products means that the wastage can be sold on as a commodity, rather than costing companies for disposal.

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