Skin Science: Squalane in No Filter

Our Elxrco, No Filter: Superfood Brightening Serum is full of beneficial, all-natural ingredients that together repair, invigorate, and revitalize your skin tone. Among all of these instrumental ingredients, squalane oil is probably the most substantial of contemporary society.

Over the past decade, squalane has been in high demand for the skin and cosmetics industries. Owing to its potent anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and antioxidant properties, squalane has been proposed as a central component of many skin and cosmetic regiments. It has the power to repair and protect aging, inflamed, and cracking skin giving skin a revitalized and youthful tone. Due to its high demand, the natural bio synthetic pathway by which squalane is produced has been the central topic of research and how we can exploit this pathway in bacteria to engineer high yields of squalane for cosmetic use. In this article, we will discuss the natural biochemical pathway by which squalane is made, the native microbes that produce it, and the novel, synthetic ways the industry hopes to creates large this powerful ingredient.

Be alert not to mistake squalene from the more commercially valuable squalane . As you can see from the figure above, Squalane is a unique 30-carbon, polyunsaturated hydrocarbon of the triterpene group, consisting of six isoprene units, and is consequently an isoprenoid compound. The well-known compounds required for their synthesis include vitamins A, D, E, and K, and all have antioxidant properties. Isoprenoids are synthesized from the isopentenyl units formed from two different metabolic pathways, leading to isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) and its isomer dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP). These distinctive pathways utilize non-homologous enzymes that have evolved independently, to generate the same universal 5-carbon precursors, the aforementioned, IPP and DMAPP. (See Fig. 1 above)

The classical mevalonate (MVA) pathway was discovered in the 1960s and is considered to be the only source of the precursors IPP and DMAPP. The MVA pathway is effective in plants, animals, and fungi, and functions in water-soluble components in the cytoplasm to generally supply the precursors for production of sesquiterpenes and triterpenes, such as squalane and its related compounds. The second, the methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway, which is primarily found in prokaryotes, including Escherichia coli and the plastids of photosynthetic organisms, is used primarily to synthesize monoterpenes, diterpenes, and tetraterpenes (smaller versions of the molecules generated by the MVA pathway).

In both pathways, the enzyme squalene synthase is used to form squalane, a substrate that is then used to form a variety of necessary compounds including cholesterol, and is used as a typical product or carbon source in eubacteria (Corynebacterium, Pseudomonas, or Arthrobacter) to form various metabolites. Both the MVA and the MEP pathways are vital components for synthesizing squalane, a compound that is then utilized to form a variety of necessary molecules within different species, from bacteria to humans.

As mentioned above, the MEP pathway is used in a variety of microorganisms. These organisms use this pathway to generate squalane and other necessary compounds.

In recent years, many scientists have tried to exploit these natural synthetic pathways by expressing them in common laboratory bacteria such as S. cerevisiae. Essentially, scientists create recombinant DNA molecules that contain the necessary genes and components for production of squalane. These systems have become more efficient using optimized media components and allowing for the bacteria to ferment squalane for ideal amounts of time. 

The squalane utilized in our No Filter: Superfood Brightening Serum, is derived from sugarcane as a raw pre-cursor to squalene. This pre-cursor is then fed to a culture of S.cerevisiae, which after fermentation, produces abundant amounts of squalene. This squalene is then chemically hydrogenated to produce squalane, the final version of this beneficial molecule that is then put into our products (see Fig. 2 above).

All in all, it is a fascinating time for squalane and its use in the skin and cosmetic industries. We will continue to supply you with products that are filled with anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and antioxidant properties -- all of which will enhance your healthy lifestyle from your skin-care regimen, to diet.





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