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USDA to Research Cosmetic Hemp Products

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Apr 28, 2021   
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An agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set out a research project to help expand the US hemp oil market.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) announced on Tuesday, April 27, that it will attempt to use hemp oil to create “cosmeceuticals” – skin-care ingredients that could help products retain moisture or stabilize the active ingredients used in skin-care formulations.

This research will involve bio-catalysis, a process which uses enzymes and heat to catalyze reactions instead of synthetic chemicals.

ARS scientists have previously used such processes to create compounds from soybean oils. These compounds were then licensed and commercialized as ingredients in cosmetic products – a development path the ARS team hopes to replicate with hemp oil.

The project will be conducted over 24 months in partnership with scientists at the Midwest Bioprocessing Center (MBC), an Illinois-based pharmaceutical manufacturer.

“Collaborating with industry partners like MBC, which has expertise in enzymology and the infrastructure for scale-up, is critical to exploring expanded uses for our original technology,” an agency representative said in a statement.

The USDA’s National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research is also said to be researching ways to better process hemp into fuels, adhesives, and functional food ingredients.


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