Finnish scientists have applied plant cell culture technology to develop new types of compounds for the cosmetics industry, said Technical Research Center of Finland, VTT in a press release on Tuesday.
The cell cultures, which are grown from birch leaves and seeds, can be used to produce pigments, such as yellow carotenoids and red anthocyanins, as well as a variety of amino acids that are important for human skin.
Birch cell cultures generate needful fatty acids, particularly linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acids, which play a significant role in preserving the skin's moisture and elasticity. They also possess antioxidant properties, which help influence the microflora of the skin by inhibiting the growth of harmful microbes.
In addition, the cultures produce some polyphenols, which are not found in birch, said VTT, adding that polyphenols, known as powerful antioxidants, may inhibit harmful oxidation reactions on the skin.
"Cell cultures provide an opportunity to utilize wood material in a new way. By natural means, we can obtain compounds that have not traditionally been associated with birch," said Riitta Puupponen-Pimia, chief researcher at VTT.
VTT noted that compared to using traditional plant materials, biotechnology-based production provides many advantages. Plant-based compounds can be produced for industrial use year-round without pollution and plant disease.
Birch cell cultures were used in plant biotechnology research by VTT more than 20 years ago. Since then, the cultures have been stored in liquid nitrogen in the culture collection, said the research center.