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 September 23, 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 September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: No Nation Gets Pass on Climate Change

Obama: No Nation Gets Pass on Climate Change

AP (Sep. 23, 2014) — In a forceful appeal for international cooperation on limiting carbon pollution, President Barack Obama warned world leaders at the UN Climate Summit on Tuesday that the globe's climate is changing faster than efforts to address it. (Sept. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Protesters Stage Wall Street Climate Sit-in

Raw: Protesters Stage Wall Street Climate Sit-in

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A day after over 100,000 people marched against climate change, more than 1,000 activists blocked parts of Manhattan's financial district. Over 100 people, including a person wearing a white polar bear suit, were arrested Monday night. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) — French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday warned about the potential "catastrophe" if global warming was not dealt with in a "powerful" way. Duration: 01:08 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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