High school student breaks new ground in tree pulp anti-aging treatment

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Anti-aging skin care, Wood, Carbon

A Canadian teenager has made an important discovery concerning the anti-aging properties of tree pulp, which has won her a national science award.

Janelle Tam, who is just 16 years old, won a $5,000 award in the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada, for her research project, which demonstrated how cellulose from wood tree pulp also acts a powerful anti-oxidant with anti-aging skin care properties.

This cellulose helps give trees their structure and is made up of nanoparticles called nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC). Tam’s research drilled down on the fact that this substance contains higher levels of anti-oxidant than vitamin C or E, while also being more stable and longer-lasting.

NCC is sustainable and easy to formulate with

“NCC is a non-toxic, stable, soluble in water and renewable, since it comes from trees,”​ pointed out the student of Waterloo legiate Institute , Ontario.

Tam noted that her research concentrated on chemically ’pairing’ NCC with the buckminster fullerene, an anti-aging nanoparticle also known as buckyballs that has become an increasingly popular element in some of the most anti-aging skin care formulations, of late.

The research project underlined the fact that the NCC buckyball combination acted like a ‘nano-vacuum’, sucking up and neutralizing the free radicals.

NCC Buckyballs aim to halt skin cell degeneration

If undisrupted, these free radicals that can lead to skin cell degeneration that ultimately contributing to a more wrinkled appearance, but the neutralizing effect of the NCC buckballs helps to halt this process, which can ultimately leading to few fine lines and wrinkles.

Cellulose from tree pulp is already used in a number of commercial and industrial applications, including as fillerand stabilizer in many vitamin products, and the student now has her sights set on her application being adopted by the cosmetics industry.

Research into NCC is a very active field in Canada, where the country's national forest research institute, FPInnovations, estimates that the area could be valued at $250m in the coming decade if a number of current projects were to take root and current growth momentum continues.

The world’s first large-scale NCC production plant opened in January of this year at a paper and pulp mill in Windsor, Quebec, where the substance is extracted from wood pulp cellulose using a chemical process similar to that already used in pulp mills.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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