Microalgae-derived betaine surfactant hits the market

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Microalgae-derived betaine surfactant hits the market
BASF has commercialized algal betaine as a personal care ingredient made with Solazyme’s AlgaPūr microalgae oils that’s intended for use in skin care and hair care formulations.

Dehyton AO 45 is available from BASF and being marketed as a substitute for the foaming ingredient amidopropyl betaine. BASF sees the microalgae-derivative being used in shampoos and liquid soaps.

Amidopropyl betaine has been popular with formulators because of its, “good detergency, good foam properties and foam stabilization, hard water compatibility, mildness to skin and hair, ability to reduce irritation of anionic systems, viscosity building, conditioning effect, stability at a broad range of pH, and excellent biodegradability,” ​the companies note in a media release about the replacement version.

Teamwork
The arrangement between BASF and Solazyme promises to make use of each company’s best talents. “We are excited to partner with BASF to launch the world’s first commercial microalgae-derived betaine surfactant.”​ says Robert Webber, chief commercialization officer with Solazyme.

“BASF’s broad capabilities in chemical conversion of triglyceride oils and deep expertise in surfactants enable significant growth opportunities in the future,” ​adds Webber.

Solazyme developed its AlgaPūr microalgae oil technology through another partnership, one with Bunge, an agribusiness company that mills sugar cane in Brazil. With side-by-side facilities Solazyme and Bunge brought a renewable microalgae oil plant online in São Paulo.

Niche opportunity
The market for microalgae oil ingredients is developing. “Consumer demand for sustainable and innovative surfactants has increased significantly, particularly in the home and personal care markets,” ​explains Josef Koester, director of marketing home and personal care for sustainability care chemicals with BASF North America.

Precursor
Before the BASF deal was struck, Solazyme teamed with Brazil’s Natura Cosmetics to bring personal care products formulated with AlgaPūr oils to the consumer market. The two companies have been collaborating for a couple of years on the project. “And, in the past twelve months those products have successfully completed testing and validation,” reported Cosmetics Design​ last month.  

Microalgae oil can be produced quickly and in a reasonably contained system, making it popular with brands seeking new viable ingredients. “We are always looking for ingredients from renewable sources and technologies inspired [by] nature, targeting low environmental impact processes and high performance solutions,” ​Daniel Gonzaga, director of advanced research with Natura told the press.

And he made a point to note that “Solazyme microalgae [oils] are a sustainable alternative for new formulations.”

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