Patent Picks—PUFA Production, Biodegradable Elastomers, Xanthohumol-Enriched Hop Extract and More

Chosen biweekly for their relevance to personal care, Patent Picks are taken from publicly available sources. This edition features eco-friendly processes and nature-derived ingredients for personal care applications.

Delta-5 desaturase for PUFA synthesis and other uses thereof
US Patent 8143486
Publication date: March 27, 2012
Assignee: Abbott Laboratories

This invention relates to the identification and isolation of genes that encode enzymes involved in the synthesis of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and to uses thereof. Furthermore, disclosed is a method of producing a desaturase that comprises the steps of: a) isolating the nucleotide sequence; b) constructing a vector comprising the isolated nucleotide sequence operably linked to a promoter; and c) introducing the vector into a host cell such as a eukaryotic or a prokaryotic cell. The prokaryotic cell may be, for example, E. coli, cyanobacteria or B. subtilis. The eukaryotic cell may be, for example, a mammalian cell, an insect cell, a plant cell or a fungal cell, e.g., Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Expression of the nucleotide sequence of the vector results in production of a polyunsaturated fatty acid by the plant cell, plant or plant tissue. The converted products may then be utilized as substrates in the production of other PUFAs for addition to pharmaceutical compositions, nutritional compositions, animal feeds as well as cosmetics.

Biodegradable elastomers in hair products, cosmetics, etc.
US Patent 8143042
Publication date: March 27, 2012
Assignee: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Disclosed in this patent are inventions in various aspects providing elastic biodegradable polymers. The polymers are formed by the reaction of a multifunctional alcohol or ether and a difunctional or higher order acid to form a pre-polymer, which is cross-linked to form the elastic biodegradable polymer. In preferred embodiments, the cross-linking is performed by functionalization of one or more OR groups on the pre-polymer backbone with vinyl, followed by photopolymerization to form the elastic biodegradable polymer composition or material. Preferably, acrylate is used to add one or more vinyls to the backbone of the pre-polymer to form an acrylated pre-polymer. Various embodiments of the compositions and materials can be used in various applications including absorbent garments, e.g., disposable diapers, incontinence protectors, panty liners, sanitary napkins, etc.; chewing gum, e.g., to deliver nutrients; edible and degradable films; flavor and aroma barriers; hair products, e.g., as alternatives to existing wax products; cosmetics and more.

Method of stimulating ethanol production and growth of aquatic plants
US Patent 8143041
Publication date: March 27, 2012
Assignee: Aquatech Bioenergy LLC

A method of stimulating ethanol production and growth of aquatic plants is described in this patent. Steps in the process include placing aquatic plants in a cell containing water, and creating an anoxic condition within the pool to initiate an anaerobic process by the aquatic plants. The aquatic plants increase in size and release ethanol by metabolism of stored carbohydrates during the anaerobic process. Once maximum carbohydrate formation is approached, the oxygenated water is removed and is replaced again with anoxic water to again begin the process of elongation and ethanol formation. The steps of adding anoxic water and oxygenated water are then repeated to continually promote elongation and ethanol production followed by carbohydrate production.

This creates a self-sustaining cycle since the plant growth replenishes both plant matter lost to plant senescence and those plants that no longer meet established tolerances of ethanol production. Additional plant growth that cannot be used for replenishing purposes or for furnishing plant material for another cell may be removed and fermented using conventional methods to also produce ethanol. Carbon dioxide released during the fermentation process may be captured and returned to the cell to promote carbohydrate production. Plant waste, both before or after the fermentation process, may further be used for replenishing nutrients to the cell and/or may be processed for biochemical industrial use such as in ethanol and diesel biofuels, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, colorants, paints and the like.

Production of N-acylated sulphur-containing amino acids with microorganisms having enhanced N-acyltransferase enzymatic activity
US Patent 8143031
Publication date: March 27, 2012
Assignee: Metabolic Explorer

The present invention claims an isolated polypeptide having L-amino-acid-N-acyl transferase enzymatic activity and a modified microorganism in which this enzyme is overexpressed. Substrates of this enzyme include mainly methionine and derivatives or analogs. This overexpression permits the production of large amounts of N-acylated sulphur-containing amino acids. Products resulting from the acylation of L-methionine have been shown to be advantageous for wool production of sheep and for the production of cosmetic products.

Systems and methods for maintaining the dominance and increasing the biomass production of Nannochloropsis in an algae cultivation system
US Patent 8143051
Publication date: March 27, 2012
Assignee: Aurora Algae, Inc.

The maintenance of a stable mass culture of Nannochloropsis maximizes the accumulation of biomass. Thus, systems and methods for maintaining the dominance and increasing the biomass production of Nannochloropsis in an algae cultivation system are disclosed in this patent. Exemplary methods include applying an effective amount of ozone to Nannochloropsis growing in an algae cultivation system, or applying a shock amount of ozone above 10mg/L or higher in the inlet stream flowing into the algae cultivation system. This accumulation of biomass is highly desirable for the production of biofuels and higher value products such as carotenoids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and products for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

Cosmetic use of Canarium indicum L. and other actives capable of stimulating tensin 1 expression
US Patent 8142825
Publication date: March 27, 2012
Assignee: Chanel Parfums Beaute

This patent describes a skin care process intended to prevent and/or treat at least one cutaneous sign of aging, which includes topical application to the skin of a composition containing at least one active agent capable of stimulating tensin 1 expression. Said extracts may include those from elemi, Canarium indicum L., Canarium luzonicum or Canarium commune. In addition, the inventors have developed a screening test for selecting biological active agents, in particular botanical extracts such as nonoily extracts of plants of the Canarium genus, that are capable of stimulating the expression of tensin 1. The active agents used according to the invention are advantageously botanical extracts, i.e. active agents obtained by extraction, using any type of solvent, of any part of a plant, such as the bark, the wood, the rhizomes, the stems, the leaves or the flowers, the exudates such as gum-resins or oleo-gum-resins, for example.

Synergistic antioxidant combinations of herb extracts and methods relating thereto
US Patent 8142824
Publication date: March 27, 2012
Assignee: The Dial Corp.

The present invention comprises mixtures of herb extracts that exert synergistic antioxidant effects and comprise the herb licorice and at least one other herb selected from the group consisting of ginger, kudzu, sophora and thyme. Skin care preparations incorporating such herb extract mixtures and their methods of preparation and use are also claimed.

Xanthohumol-enriched hop extract for singlet oxygen-quenching
US Patent 8142821
Publication date: March 27, 2012
Assignee: Flazan GmbH & Co. KG

Squalene is also a component of acne sebum, and both porphyrins and squalene are directly exposed to the external environment and play a key role in skin physiology. Recently it was demonstrated that squalene peroxidation during solar exposure is mainly caused by singlet oxygen and free radical attack, suggesting that sun care products should make use not only of free radical scavengers but also of singlet oxygen quenchers. Xanthohumol's singlet oxygen-quenching activity might therefore be used to develop new treatments for immune and inflammatory diseases.

Thus, disclosed in this patent is a method for preparing a xanthohumol-rich hop composition that includes providing a solution that contains xanthohumol-containing hop substances, and affecting the precipitation of non-xanthohumol hop substances by adjusting both the salt concentration and pH value of the solution. The xanthohumol-rich hop composition prepared by this method can be used for treating skin conditions and bacterial infection.

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