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Patent Pick: Starch Breakdown Builds Viscosity

July 28, 2017 | Contact Author | By: Rachel Grabenhofer
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Abstract: Novamont inventors are building something new from complete destruction: viscosity. A new patent application explains, on a more "granular" level.

Thickening agents are nothing new. They've long been used to control the viscosity of cosmetic, dermatological and pharmaceutical compositions, paints, phytosanitary products and detergents, among others. 

Yet, while many thickeners are well-known, according a new Novamont patent application, the majority are of synthetic origin and generally carry with them a higher production cost and unfavorable (unsustainable) origin. The industry has responded by replacing these thickeners with others of renewable and natural origin. However, their performance is not fully comparable to their counterparts, and production costs are still not competitive.

There is therefore a need for new thickening agents that are renewable, biodegradable and capable of performance equivalent to synthetic ones. This was the focus of the present invention.

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Thickening agents are nothing new. They've long been used to control the viscosity of cosmetic, dermatological and pharmaceutical compositions, paints, phytosanitary products and detergents, among others. 

Yet, while many thickeners are well-known, according a new Novamont patent application, the majority are of synthetic origin and generally carry with them a higher production cost and unfavorable (unsustainable) origin. The industry has responded by replacing these thickeners with others of renewable and natural origin. However, their performance is not fully comparable to their counterparts, and production costs are still not competitive.

There is therefore a need for new thickening agents that are renewable, biodegradable and capable of performance equivalent to synthetic ones. This was the focus of the present invention.

Completely destructurized starch as a thickening agent
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/125467
Publication date: July 27, 2017
Assignee: Novamont S.p.A.

Disclosed in this patent is the use of completely destructurized starch as a thickening agent in cosmetic, dermatological and pharmaceutical compositions, among other applications. According to the inventors, it has surprisingly been found that said starch addresses the stated challenges with similar performance. Further, production costs, if not lower, are at least comparable to synthetic thickener production.

Completely destructurized starch is defined as a starch that has completely lost its native granular structure, which can be identified by phase contrast optical microscopy. In this state, the starch exhibits high stability during changes in pH and electrolyte content (inter alia, NaCl), thus widening the possibilities for application and ensuring better uniformity of performance, regardless of conditions of use.