Australian Functional Ingredients – by Vic Cherikoff

Australian Native Extracts for Cosmetics

Australian Functional Ingredients is a specialist in supplying Australian native extracts for a wide range of applications. Food uses include nutritional mixes for concentrates, puree blends and flavourings for beverages which use the super-food status of Australian wild foods. And then there are the myriad of cosmetic products and which uses our expertise on traditional bush medicines, our connections into Aboriginal communities and the published scientific research on a wide range of bioactives in the native extracts.

Kakadu plums yield a superior native extract with a broad range of bioactives including vitamin C, ellagic acid, gallic acid, folates and various minerals. It is getting some fame and exposure in the USA and Europe in skin care products but only now is the extract really stable enough to be useful.

Technologies for preparing Australian native extracts are important in determining the ultimate quality and uses of the finished product. This presumes that you start with the best raw materials which are loaded with the suite of bioactives that are to end up in the native extracts.

The most simple might be sequential infusions using different solvents or mixtures of these eg water, alcohol, glycerin with or without various solutes to aid the process. This is essentially the same as infusing and pressing the contents of a tea bag.

Another process uses liquid carbon dioxide which is an extremely effective solvent for particular (non-polar) bioactives and this can be followed by water extraction to sequentially trap polar components too.

A third process we use when larger volumes are required is the counter-current exchange extractor. This technology was developed in the wine industry as a means to recover bioactives from grape marque. The technology is now used in the cranberry industry for the extraction of cranberry juice and the application of flavours to the de-juiced fruits prior to drying as ‘craisins’.

The counter-current exchange extractor is a highly versatile plant which can run at various temperatures, utilize various solvent systems and replicate a mathematical 1 million extractions of the teabag variety is a single pass through.

However, occasionally new technologies are developed which can create native extracts of a particularly high potency and concentrate water-soluble and fat-soluble bioactives in the same extract. This is the perfect functional soup for cosmetics needing as close to the cellular soup within plants as possible.

If you are developing a cosmetic range and are looking for new native extracts with lots of punch, get in touch and we can help create a profile of functionals to suit your planned product types.

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Vic Cherikoff