Marine Cultivation Startup Yemoja Is Bringing Anti-Aging, Sustainable Microalgae to Cosmetics Companies

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Marine cultivation start-up Yemoja recently launched microalgae-derived external polysaccharide sulphate (EPS), a bioactive component derived from Porphyridium cruentum species of microalgae. This component is in high demand in the cosmetics industry for its naturally tendering antiaging, anti-inflammatory, and rejuvenating properties.

Israeli firm Yemoja’s EPS-Revive is the first red algae sulphate for use in cosmetics produced in a controlled lab environment by employing high-precision and fast-track photobioreactor technology.

With the cosmetics market predicted to reach US$430B in global sales by 2022, there has been an increasing demand for natural cosmetics driving innovation.

The purity of algae


CEO of Yemoja, Erez Ashkenazi, said that all-natural cosmetic brands demand a consistent supply of superior quality algae. “More and more companies are working to create an ‘all-natural’ brand by using plant-based or algae-based substances, with emphasis on ‘green’ processes and chemical-free end products. While the demand for the product is high, Yemoja is a rare player in that we can provide a steady supply of valuable and standardized raw material. We cultivate only natural wild-strain algae through an automated, fully controlled and contaminant-free downstream process. We use no chemicals or solvents, and we do not exploit any natural resources from the environment and we are exploring possibilities for integrating our aqueous solution into food supplements and branching out to the beauty-from-within sector.”

This closed-cultivation system used by the company ensures that there is no reliance on external environmental components or effects from climate fluctuations, meaning that all year round, it can produce the EPS in gel form or as pure powder. Additionally, the company can choose to increase the quantity of sulphate bound to the EPS during the algae cultivation process.

While the demand for the product is high, Yemoja is a rare player in that we can provide a steady supply of valuable and standardized raw material. We cultivate only natural wild-strain algae through an automated, fully controlled and contaminant-free downstream process. We use no chemicals or solvents, and we do not exploit any natural resources from the environment

Erez Ashkenazi, CEO of Yemoja

Creating clean cosmetics

CTO of Yemoja, Dr. Amikam Bar-Gill, said: “EPS molecules are synthesized within the red Porphyridium cruentum microalgae under high-stress conditions. This exerts a protective mechanism that safeguards the algae’s cells from dehydration, pH shifts, and bacterial infections. During cultivation, the EPS is secreted by the algae and dissolved within the growth media – seawater – which is later separated from the biomass for ultra-filtration in order to concentrate the EPS into its final gel form.”

An ex-vivo trial vouched for the benefits of EPS-Revive and showed that it helps protect the connective tissue between the dermal layers, with its sulfate content and structure, acting as a reactive oxygen species scavenger protecting the skin from aging and inhibited various inflammatory markers like TNF-a and IL6 cytokines.

With clinical trials conducted in Gdansk, Poland, the EPS-Revive can be incorporated into creams, lotions, and other topical applications. Going ahead, the company will conduct more trials over the next year and assess all the effects that can be used to maintain skin health for all skin types.

Yemoja further works to repurpose waste by using the biomass to produce intercellular polysaccharide sulphated (IPS) that can also be used in cosmetics. It is similar to the benefits of EPS and includes the algae’s red pigment, phycoerythrin, with the pigment having an immune-modulation activity. It is presently under research and can be used in natural cosmetics formulations as a colorant or an active ingredient.

“Porphyridium polysaccharide is a potent antioxidant and effective anti-inflammatory agent that bears a high affinity to skin support and already is in use in nearly 300 cosmetic formulations worldwide. We also plan to investigate its possible capacity for alleviating medical dermal issues, such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis in the near future”, concludes Bar-Gil.

Algae-based products are having a moment around the world several companies innovating in this field, especially in the food sector, for instance, Sophie’s Bionutrients, a Singapore-based firm launched its 100% plant-based burger patty developed from single-cell microalgae with more protein than beef or fish.

Read: Big Players Say That Microalgae Is The Future Of Sustainable Superfood


Lead image – Yemoja’s new plant(left), courtesy of Yemoja.


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