SCIENCE

Unique features of quinoa starch helped scientists create successful beauty tech business

Patented technology acquired by leading ingredients manufacturer.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
September 15, 2020

The four researchers Marilyn Rayner, Petr Dejmek, Anna Timgren, and Malin Sjöö from the Department of Food Technology Engineering and Nutrition at Lund University in Sweden were initially working on an encapsulation system for functional food. What they found turned out to be so much better.

— We used an emulsion system of oil and water, components that don’t mix without use of emulsifiers or surfactant molecules. But we had the idea of using natural particles instead of molecules, tells Sjöö. When testing quinoa starch particles, a natural food component, we could create systems that were very unique, and we patented the technology. We had been involved in different commercialisation projects before, but we all felt that this was better than anything we had done before. When starting to look into different application areas to commercialize the patent, we realized that the personal care market would be the most suitable for introducing a new ingredient and technology, especially since we found the ingredient also provides a very positive on-skin feel.

Since 2012, their company Speximo runs a novel technology platform, using quinoa starch to create stabilization and encapsulation for sustainable formulations in personal care and cosmetics. But, as Sjöö tells, with potential use in other commercial areas.

— The main application areas we see are on skin and for ingestion, such as creams, powders and, sprays, but also to protect active ingredients in personal care, food and nutrition, and pharmaceuticals. The step from food to cosmetics is not as far as you may believe.

Speximo was recently acquired by IFF-Lucas Meyer Cosmetics, global leading innovator of scent, taste, and nutrition.

— We feel very welcome to the family, says Sjöö. Our team in Lund works very close with Lucas Meyer Cosmetics and it feels positive to be part of a larger organization sharing our values.

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