USDA Teams Up With Illinois-Based Chemical Producer To Create Hemp-Based 'Cosmeceuticals'

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed Tuesday it has entered into a new agreement with a chemical manufacturing company, Midwest Bioprocessing Center (MBC) to help expand the hemp seed oil-based cosmetic market.

What happened: USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency, The Agricultural Research Service signed a two-year cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with a Peoria, Illinois-based firm involved in organic chemical and pharmaceutical production.

Under the agreement, scientists involved will utilize a patented process (developed by chemists with the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research - NCAUR) dubbed “bio-catalysis.” This methodology relies on enzymes and heat instead of strong chemicals to bind natural antioxidants to fats in vegetable oils.

Previously, the technology was used to create natural compounds that were later on licensed and used as ingredients in skin and personal care products.

Why It Matters: Now, under the new agreement, the scientists involved will try to create similar ingredients from bio-catalyzed hemp seed oil, “potentially broadening the market for this commodity from an estimated 90,000 U.S. acres of industrial hemp.”

They will concentrate on developing “cosmeceuticals” – skincare compounds that offer particular features such as – skin protection from UV lights and securing moisture.

“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,” said David Compton of USDA.

In addition, NCAUR scientists are also working on developing technologies to more efficiently process hemp into fuels, adhesives, lubricants, food ingredients, and fiber products.

Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash

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Posted In: CannabisMarketsDavid ComptonHemp CosmeticsThe Agricultural Research ServiceUSDA
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