Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Milkweed Oil Tapped For Sunscreen And Other Products

Date:
March 6, 2009
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Common milkweed is the only food source of monarch butterfly caterpillars. But for some farmers, the plant is also a valuable source of floss that can be harvested for use as a hypoallergenic filler for high-end pillows, comforters and jacket linings.

Oil from milkweed seeds can be used as a base material for sunscreen and other products.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Theodore Webster, ARS.

Common milkweed is the only food source of monarch butterfly caterpillars. But for some farmers, the plant is also a valuable source of floss that can be harvested for use as a hypoallergenic filler for high-end pillows, comforters and jacket linings.

Floss, though, isn't the only useable portion of milkweed. Unsaturated oil in the plant's seed also has potential as a base material for sunscreen, cosmetics and skin- and hair-care products, including moisturizers and conditioners. That's the conclusion Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemist Rogers Harry-O'kuru drew after analyzing the oil's waxes and assorted fatty acids.

In studies at the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Ill., Harry-O'kuru devised a procedure for using zinc chloride to catalyze the conversion of milkweed oil's triglycerides into ultraviolet (UV)-light-absorbing compounds called cinamic acid derivatives.

In tests at the center's New Crops and Processing Technology Research Unit, the derivatives absorbed UV rays in the range of 260 to 360 nanometers--wavelengths that can damage skin. Additionally, the milkweed-oil derivatives accomplished this at very low concentrations of 1 to 5 percent, a range far below that approved for today's topical skin formulations, many of which use chemical fillers or sun blocks.

Harry-O'kuru's milkweed-oil-based sunscreen also contains natural antioxidants such as tocopherols, which are often added to cosmetics as skin-nourishing ingredients. The sunscreen's unique combination of fats and waxes may also qualify it as biodegradable and help keep it from washing off during a swim. Its current form is a clear liquid, but gels, creams, sticks and aerosol sprays are also possible, according to Harry-O'kuru.

Besides skin- and hair-care products, the UV-absorbent base material he has devised could also be tailored for use in epoxies, paints and other industrial applications. ARS has patented Harry-O'kuru's base material and is seeking an industrial partner to develop the technology further.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Milkweed Oil Tapped For Sunscreen And Other Products." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220181749.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2009, March 6). Milkweed Oil Tapped For Sunscreen And Other Products. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220181749.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Milkweed Oil Tapped For Sunscreen And Other Products." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220181749.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins