leuconostoc radish root ferment filtrate is used in natural skin care as an alternative to phenoxyethanol and paraben preservatives.
Over the past several decades there has been growing public pressure, increasingly strict chemical regulations, preservative sensitization issues, and the potential for developing microbial resistance to the chemical preservative products typically used in cosmetic and personal care formulations. These factors have resulted in numerous preservation chemicals being pulled from the marketplace, despite being the products of choice at one time.
To offer a solution to this preservation paradigm, Active Micro Technologies (AMT) has developed a line of products based on naturally occurring compounds that provide active cosmetic properties, but by their very nature are also capable of providing product preservation. This antimicrobial capability is due to natural mechanisms developed by plants and microorganisms by which they protect themselves from their environment and other competing organisms.
Leucidal® Liquid is based on an antimicrobial peptide originally derived from the lactic acid bacteria, Leuconostoc kimchii. L. kimchii is one of 15 species of microorganisms that make up the mixed culture used for producing the Korean dietary staple known as kimchi, a type of fermented cabbage
Aqueous Ferment Extract Suggested Use Levels: 2.0 – 4.0% Suggested Applications: Moisturization, Skin/Scalp Conditioning, Antimicrobial Page 1 of 3 Like many lactic acid bacteria, L. kimchii is capable of restricting the growth of other microorganisms by acidifying its environment, but as is common in nature, it is not content to limit itself to a single mechanism of defense. In addition to acidifying its environment, it also produces a novel antimicrobial peptide. Using modern fermentation and bioprocessing technology, AMT has commercialized this antimicrobial peptide to produce Leucidal® Liquid.
Leucidal® Liquid Technical Data Sheet Information contained in this technical literature is believed to be accurate and is offered in good faith for the benefit of the customer. The company, however, cannot assume any liability or risk involved in the use of its chemical products since the conditions of use are beyond our control. Statements concerning the possible use of our products are not intended as recommendations to use our products in the infringement of any patent.
Because peptides have been found to provide skin moisturization properties, Leucidal® Liquid was used in a comparative study to evaluate its ability to provide cosmetic benefits, in addition to the demonstrated antimicrobial function. A skin moisturization study was performed using a generic cream base, compared with the same cream base containing 1% Leucidal® Liquid. As demonstrated by the results of this study, the addition of 1% Leucidal® Liquid to the base cream formulation provided a 10% increase in moisturization. Based on these results, adding this innovative product provides the formulator the opportunity to capitalize on both the natural antimicrobial properties of Leucidal® Liquid, as well as its ability to provide potent moisturizing benefits to the cosmetic formulation.
These properties make it ideal for applications addressing numerous skin and scalp conditions. As with all biological materials, some attention must paid to the conditions under which Leucidal® Liquid is used. Based on bench-scale evaluations, as well as actual product applications, Leucidal® Liquid has been found to be effective over a wide range of typical cosmetic and personal care product manufacturing conditions. The product has been found to be heat stable up to 70°C and active under both acidic (pH 3) and basic conditions (pH 8). USE RECOMMENDATIONS Table 3. Increase in Moisturization for Leucidal® Liquid 86 88 90 92 94 96 98 100 102 104 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Average Impedance Value Time Moisturization Results Control Leucidal Liquid Page 3 of
Leucidal® Liquid is a new, natural preservative from Active Micro Technologies combining the current trends for alternative preservative systems and peptide technology. Derived from radishes fermented with Leuconostoc kimchii, a lactic acid bacteria that has traditionally been used to make kimchi, this product consists of an isolated peptide that is secreted from the bacteria during the fermentation process that has been shown to have antimicrobial benefits. Leucidal® Liquid is accepted by ECOCERT as an ingredient in certified organic cosmetics.
As with all biological materials some attention must be paid to the conditions under which Leucidal® Liquid can be used. Preliminary investigation shows that the material is stable with regard to temperature up to 60°C (140°F). Testing shows that thepeptide remains active under both acidic and basic conditions, but there is a loss of activity at pH of 9.
For many cosmetic formulations Leucidal® Liquid can function as a natural alternative to synthetic preservatives. It may also be useful as a topical antimicrobial when addressing problem skin or scalp conditions. While it has only a slight odor, it will impart some color to clear cosmetic products, although it is still possible to formulate “white” emulsions.
Challenge testing reveals that 2% Leucidal Liquid in a cream base is able to successfully inhibit microbial growth. Samples were inoculated with S. aureus, E. coli, P. aeruginosa, C. albicans, A. niger, K. pneumoniae, B. cepacia. Following 28 days of incubation samples were then re-inoculated for an additional 28 days. Minimum Inhibitory Concentrations (MIC) were determined using a standard agar dilution method. A variety of bacteria and fungus were tested to evaluate the ability of Leucidal® Liquid to protect against microbial contamination. The results indicate that Leucidal® Liquid can provide effective protection for certain cosmetic systems.
The choice of preservatives for personal care formulations should be carefully considered. This is especially true when using natural antimicrobials and or other “mild” antimicrobials. We recommend that every formula undergo stability and microbial testing to ensure adequate preservation.
Heat stable to 60°C (140°F)
Broad spectrum of antibacterial activity
Compatible with a wide range of cosmetic ingredients.
Very mild, with low to no irritation potential
ECOCert Approved for use in ECOCert Certified Organic products
Please note, Active Micro Concepts now recommends a usage rate of 2.0 – 4.0% for this preservative.
Recommended Usage Level: 2.0% – 4.0%
pH (as supplied): 4.0 – 6.0
Appearance: Clear to slightly hazy yellow to light amber liquid
Solubility: Soluble in water, glycerin and propylene glycol, immiscible with oils.
Shelf Life: 12 months
Storage and Use: Sealed container away from sunlight. Do not freeze, store at or near room temperature. Mix well prior to use; may sediment on standing.
The Koreans have been on this for quite some time in the food world, but only recently has it reached what I affectionately call the skin trade (or the “other skin trade”). I like eating kimchi. Turns out the products of fermentation are bacteriostatic, which means it can be viewed as a preservative. This paper from 1994 explores in some depth the chemical and microbiologic basis. Naturally, there is a patent involved for cosmetic uses.
Biochemical, microbiological, and nutritional aspects of kimchi (Korean fermented vegetable products).
Kimchi is a traditional, fermented Korean food that is prepared through a series of processes, including pretreatment of oriental cabbage (or radish), brining, blending with various spices and other ingredients, and fermentation. The characteristics of kimchi differ depending on the kimchi varieties, raw materials used, process, fermentation, and preservation methods. However, kimchi has typical biochemical, nutritional, and organoleptic properties and health-related functions. Kimchi fermentation is initiated by various microorganisms originally present in the raw materials, but the fermentation is gradually dominated by lactic acid bacteria.
Numerous physicochemical and biological factors influence the fermentation, growth, and sequential appearance of principal microorganisms involved in the fermentation. Complex biochemical changes occur depending on the environmental conditions before, during, and after fermentation. The most important characteristics are the compositional changes of sugars and vitamins (especially ascorbic acid), formation and accumulation of organic acids, and texture degradation and softening. Nutritionally, kimchi is an important source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other nutrients. This review covers in some detail the biochemical, microbiological, and nutritional characteristics of kimchi.
Using leuconostoc (a common bug used in fermentation) in the starter culture. “These results indicate that Leuconostoc citreum IH22 dominates over and retards the growth of other lactic acid bacteria in kimchi, suggesting it can be used as a bacterial starter culture to maintain the quality of kimchi for prolonged periods.”
When you ferment radish root (Chinese daikon type radishes) rather than cabbage, by the way, it is called dongchimi rather than kimchi. See pic at right. No comment on the entymology of that term. Korean translations are often awkward.
Ok, now we have some anti-bug juice. This is why fermentation was big before there was refrigeration. In fact until the late 19th century, very few people drank water because it was typically filled with bugs of all sorts. Instead they drank beer. Everyone: men woman, children, even babies. Part of the brewing includes heating, which kills the bugs. But the products of fermentation are mildly bacteriostatic. Hence, a so-called “natural” preservative. Mind you, I wouldn’t prescribe beer for life threatening sepsis – we have much bigger guns.
Which bring us to the question: why preservatives in cosmetics and skin care items? How do we know if they work? How do we measure such things? Well, it turns out that creams and lotions can be favorable culture media for all sorts of bugs, some not at all friendly. So in order to maintain “purity” and prevent “spoilage” the industry adds chemicals to kill bugs or prevent them from growing. But, there are all sorts of bugs. Bacteria (many types), yeasts, fungi. With an antibiotic, we talk about its spectrum – how many different bugs can it prevent or kill? We also want to measure its killing capacity in terms of how much is needed to keep your skin cream sterile.
Back to the kimchi story. Leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate (the INCI name of the ingredient) is nicely bacteriostatic against many (but not all) common pathogenic bacteria, but only weakly so against fungi and yeasts. So, it is not as ‘wide spectrum” as many others (including phenoxyethanol).
Now, a manufacturer of such things (PCAA) has introduced a natural preservative solution that protects personal care products against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria: (INCI: Glycerin (and) Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate (and) Lonicera Japonica(Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (and) Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Extract (and) Populus Tremuloides Bark Extract (and) and Gluconolactone). By adding these other goodies, they gain a little (not a lot) antifungal, anti-yeast action. The solution has a low pH. The preservative solution is a yellow viscous liquid with a pH 4.9 that is recommended at 0.5–2.5% in hand creams, body creams and lotions, facial products, shampoos and conditioners. The label on this stuff says “Products which are highly prone to mold or yeast growth might need additional fungal protection”. This is interesting: benzoid acid (a natural constituent of honeysuckle, is present at 0.0014%. Seems these things bring their own baggage with them.
This might be a good place to discuss the whole “natural” movement in skin care in general, and cosmetic preservatives in particular. Natural substances are not necessarily any safer or healthier that manmade chemicals. Most of the bad stuff out there comes from nature, along with the good stuff. When you see the term “botanicals” used in skin care marketing, does it make you think of healthy things, or deadly nightshade and arsenic or any of millions of other chemicals not too good for you?
Lately I have seen reference to “plant defense systems” with the idea that plant defensins might work out to be a good preservatives. But we need to be careful, because these selfsame plants may be defending themselves against us! In fact, a friendlier source of defensins might be the human variety. Bugs that live in humans aside, our own natural defense systems are quite friendly from human-to-human. Long ago it was discovered that “extracts of human” (things like blood plasma, which contain a whole panoply of human chemicals) can be lifesaving when transfused from one human to another (assuring no bugs). We see in the laboratories around us at the university, other stem cell scientists working on amazing cures based on the idea of transplanting (your or someone else’s) stem cells into diseased areas of the body. What’s the point? We don’t think of human stuff as natural, when it is far closer to our own “nature” than plants, which we do think of as natural. Off my soapbox.
So, back to kimchi (or dongchimi). Is it effective as a preservative? Yes, but it doesn’t give formulators the kind of assurance they need in terms of killing power (spectrum) so only the brave are trying it out. It is less effective than phenoxyethanol. Now, is it less likely to cause sensitivity than say phenoxyethanol? Here again, many chemicals involved, and sensitivity is a “host” characteristic – so it depends on you, your unique defense system, and perhaps even how much exposure you have had.
I won’t be a smart aleck and suggest you rub kimchi on your skin as a test. I would say if the rest of the skin care formulation is based on solid science, no nonsense, then Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate as a preservative is worth a trial.
During the SARS epidemic, researchers in Korea found out that chickens fed kimchi had a better rate of recovery than those fed standard poultry feed. Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made of fermented vegetables. And it seems that the ferment is a powerful anti-microbial.
Then – connecting the dots in a way that I really like – a company called Active Micro Systems reasoned that beauty product consumers are turned off by parabens, phenoxyethanol and other potentially harmful preservatives and that fermented vegetables could provide an alternative. So they added leuconostoc (the same bacteria used in kimchi) to radish roots and left it to ferment. The next job was to isolate the peptide with the antimicrobial activity.
The resulting ingredient, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, seems to do a good job at 05%-2% concentrations against a whole range of tiny nasties from e.coli to a.niger and it is recommended that it can be used as the sole preservative in a cosmetic.
Leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate crops up in a couple of mainstream beauty products such as Peter Thomas Roth Lashes to Die For and Elizabeth Arden Prevage Body. Although Elizabeth Arden completely defeats the object by hedging its bets by adding most parabens known to man and several other preservatives including phenoxyethanol.
Another natural preservative is made from aspen bark extract, from the quaking aspen tree found North America. Apparently, the bark is rich in salicylates that function as a defensive mechanism against invading parasites.