A Green, Solvent-free Biocatalytic Method to Produce Cosmetic Esters

Natural ingredients have always been important in the cosmetics market, and the demand for the use of greener processes is becoming more important to both formulators and consumers. In the present article-and to emphasize the distinction-natural refers to the source of raw materials, an example set by the Natural Products Association, while green refers to the process used to convert starting materials to a finished ingredient.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has adopted a series of principles to guide the development of environmentally responsible and sustainable manufacturing, called “The 12 Principles of ‘Green’ Chemistry.”1 These principles have guided the development of the current biocatalytic process.

The green nature of biocatalysis- along with its mild reaction conditions, high and sometimes unique reaction selectivities, and the potential to work solvent-free-suggest that biocatalysis is a natural fit for the green preparation of cosmetic ingredients. Since petroleum-based organic solvents are undesirable for green processes, biocatalytic processes (enzymatic or microbial transformations) can instead be used since they generally are considered green.

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