Protecting them from oxidation and spoiling.
About 3 million tonnes of mushroom residues are produced annually by commercial mushroom growing farms and most of it ends in composting while it could be better used. Funguschain project goal is to valorise these residues and get functional additives and polymers to be used in food, plastic and cosmetic industries amongst others. Our aim is to establish an appropriate cascade process that would isolate high-value biomolecules to be used in various applications as part of Monaghan Mushroom production site.
During the project, the cascade process underwent significant changes based on assessments of technological and economic viability as the goal is to get tangible results that can be exploited. The molecules obtained at different steps of the cascade process are introduced as additives into other matrices, produced or used as precursors of other bio-products in the secondary stages of conversion. Some of them have achieved new functionalities and applications in cosmetic products.
Saponia, a Croatian home and personal care company with over 125 years experience in manufacturing toiletries, cosmetics and laundry and cleaning products and regional leader in several home and personal care market segments is the partner responsible for cosmetic applications of mushroom extracts.
Growing awareness about the impact of synthetic chemicals that come into contact with the skin has on human health has encouraged consumers to turn to natural cosmetics. At the same time, legislators are pressuring industry to replace harmful ingredients with less harmful ones, especially related to certain functional groups of products such as antioxidants, preservatives, etc. Due to those market developments, demand for the replacement of antioxidant chemicals such as BTH or EDTA with those from natural origin for use in natural cosmetics is growing and formulators from cosmetic industry are asking for them. In this project, SAPONIA tests the applicability of mushroom extracts as antioxidants to prevent oxidation of natural oils and other ingredients in cosmetic products.
The secondary effect is the benefit for the skin itself given the positive effects of these extracts, such as hydration, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory action, etc. After considering different application methods, market data and requirements, Saponia decided to incorporate those additives from the mushrooms into creams, milks, oils and soaps as antioxidants. That type of additives is rarely added to toiletries (shampoos, conditioners, liquid soaps) since the composition of those products do not require the antioxidant action. SAPONIA has tested glucans, proteins, chitosan / chitin and polyphenolic extracts. The greatest potential so far has been found on an extract containing high content of chitosan / chitin. First tests where EDTA was replaced with chitosan/chitin extract in body milk were successful and we are now testing the incorporation of mushroom extracts in all-natural shimmering oil, bar soap and body cream.