Milkweed oil tapped for sunscreen and other products by ProQuest


Besides skin- and h air- care products, the UV-absorbent base material he has devised could also be tailored for use in epoxies, paints, and other industrial applications.

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									         inform March 2009, Vol. 20 (3)                 167

       tially call in the immune system’s T-cells.
       That prevents the virus from spreading.
             “So even though it sounds counter-
       intuitive, halting the body’s natural defense
       system might actually prevent transmission
       and rapid spread of the infection,” Haase
             They examined GML because, in 1992,
       Schlievert began using it to combat toxic
       shock syndrome, a potentially lethal bacte-
       rial infection. In recent years, research has
       shown GML is active against a variety of
       toxins and microbes and inhibits cytokines
       and chemokines, small molecules that play
       key roles in triggering the body’s defense
             Haase said that much work remained
       to be done before planning clinical trials
       in humans, including additional testing in
       other animals and developing dosing and
       delivery methods that will make it more
       likely that women will use GML to prevent
       HIV. Longer-term follow-up studies are
       also needed into infections that were not       Milkweed oil has potential use in sunscreens because it can protect skin from two types of
       apparent in the acute stage of infection, but   ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Chemist Rogers E. Harry-O’Kuru studies UV radiation absorbance
       manifested months later.                        spectra of modified milkweed oils. Photo courtesy of Peggy Greb.
             “GML is exceptionally inexpensive,
       is widely used in foods and cosmetics,          oil’s waxes and assorted fatty acids.           epoxies, paints, and other industrial appli-
       and is easy to formulate in many ways,”               In studies at the ARS National Center     cations. ARS has patented Harry-O’Kuru’s
       Schlievert said. “The compound has been         for Agricultural Utilization Research in        base material and is seeking an industrial
       demonstrated in vitro to inhibit the growth     Peoria, Illinois, Harry-O’Kuru devised a        partner to develop the technology further.
       of nearly all sexually transmitted disease      procedure for using zinc chloride to cat-
       microorganisms.”                                alyze the conversion of milkweed oil’s
             The research was published in the         triglycerides into ultraviolet (UV)-light-
       March 4, 2009, online edition of Nature         absorbing compounds called cinnamic acid
       (doi: 10.1038/nature07831).                                                                             personal cleansing and extending its
                                                                                                               offering for hair care, as well as home,
                                                             In tests at the center’s New Crops and
                                                                                                               institutional, and industrial cleaning
       Milkweed oil                                    Processing Technology Research Unit, the
                                                       derivatives absorbed UV in the range of                 markets.

       tapped for
                                                       260–360 nanometers—wavelengths that
                                                       can damage skin. Additionally, the milk-                Agilent Techn
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