CP Kelco has introduced a line of biopolymers derived from fermented soybeans that offer moisturization benefits to skin care. AquaMAX (INCI: Natto Gum) is a polymer of γ–polyglutamic acid (γ-PGA), which is produced by BioLeaders Corp. through the fermentation of a proprietary strain of Bacillus subtilis. In Japan, soybeans are fermented with this bacteria to create the food natto.
CP Kelco offers two versions of AquaMAX: AquaMAX HM, which is greater than 2,000 kDa molecular weight; and AquaMAX LM, which is approximately 1 kDa molecular weight. The different molecular weights allow the formulator to use the ingredient either as the primary functional moisturizer or part of a synergistic ingredient system working with other functional skin care ingredients such as hyaluronic acid (HA).
According to the company, the natto gum moisturizes skin by: capturing and retaining moisture, by enhancing and extending critical hyaluronic acid functionalities, by increasing the levels of natural moisturizing factors (NMFs), by contributing to maintaining and improving the structural integrity of the skin, by enhancing skin moisture, elasticity and reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and by moderating undesirable immune responses in the skin.
The larger molecular size of HM was found to capture and retain moisture, improve skin moisture content and elasticity and reduce TEWL. Meanwhile, the smaller molecular size of LM allows it to be more effective at inhibiting hyaluronidase in the skin to increase HA content , to increase levels of NMFs and to enhance epidermal structural integrity. Both versions were found to moderate immune reactions.
AquaMAX is readily dissolved in water and is compatible with most personal care ingredients, offering formulation flexibility to enable the creation of highly functional products. HM is recommended at up to 2% in formulations, while LM is recommended at 4% or higher in formulations.