Plant milking promise? Clariant develops mulberry root extract under French biotech partnership

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Clariant and PAT's biotech process to produce the mulberry tree root extract is eco-friendly and 100% traceable (Getty Images)
Clariant and PAT's biotech process to produce the mulberry tree root extract is eco-friendly and 100% traceable (Getty Images)

Related tags: biotech, Plant extracts, Clariant, anti-ageing, Skin care, Sustainability

Clariant has developed a concentrated active from white mulberry tree root using a patented plant milking technology it says is a fundamental step towards ensuring beauty’s sustainable future.

The ‘Prenylium’ white mulberry tree root extract, presented at this week’s Cosmetagora 2020 tradeshow in Paris, has been developed under a partnership with French biotech firm Plant Advanced Technologies (PAT)​. Using PAT’s patented plant milking technology, rare active plant compounds were sourced and produced from roots at an industrial scale.

Clariant said the active ingredient could be incorporated into a wide range of skin care formulations, including anti-aging creams, plumping serums and rejuvenating night creams, to actively reduce the appearance of wrinkles and increase skin smoothness.

Sustainable extract through eco-friendly process, 100% traceability

To obtain the extract, mulberry tree roots were cut and collected several times a year from the same plant – these roots could regrow multiple times – an aeroponic, soilless system then stimulated production of important molecules found in the roots.

Clariant said this was a “highly sustainable, 100% traceable and eco-friendly process”. ​The cultivation of mulberry trees was protected, and traceability could be assured from seed to active, it said.

Alexandre Lapeyre, head of marketing at Clariant Active Ingredients, added: “The assurance of a traceable and responsible ingredient, achieved through a controlled culture environment and sustainable access to tree roots, is also fundamental to ensuring the beauty industry’s sustainable future.”

Lapeyre said the extract was “particularly market-relevant”​ for formulators keen on developing skin care formulations for “the growing well-ageing generation”.

Super-concentrated mulberry root - ‘biological efficacy is higher’

Clariant said Prenylium was highly concentrated in prenylated flavonoids, important in protecting the skin matrisome.

“This class of bioactive compounds has a higher affinity with cellular membranes and better interaction with biological targets of interest when compared to the non-prenylated flavonoids more commonly present at a high level in nature. As a result, biological efficacy is higher,” ​the company said.

The extract had been proven in vitro​ to modulate the expression of CCN1, a protein that increased with age, thereby “helping to safeguard matrisome integrity”, ​Clariant said. “As a consequence, and thanks to the active’s unique composition, it rebalances the equilibrium between collagen synthesis and degradation.”

PAT’s proprietary target binding technology had also been used to assess interaction between prenylated flavonoids and collagenase and showed the active compounds inhibited collagenase enzyme activity.

In further research, Clariant conducted a small-scale, double-blind randomised clinical trial, testing the Prenylium extract against a placebo in females with wrinkles, aged from 45 to 70 years old. Results showed that deepest wrinkles were reduced by more than 12% after four weeks and more than 15% after eight.

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