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Study of the prospective use of the gum of the cashew tree in cosmetic applications

Grant number: 03/09066-2
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Research Partnership for Technological Innovation - PITE
Duration: May 01, 2004 - July 31, 2007
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Maria Inês Ré
Grantee:Maria Inês Ré
Host Institution: Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas S/A (IPT). Secretaria de Desenvolvimento Econômico (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Host Company: Natura Inovação e Tecnologia de Produtos Ltda
City: São Paulo


The gum of the cashew tree is an acid heteropolysaccharide composed of galactose, arabinose, glucose, ramnose, mannose and glucuronic acid. It is a non-toxic product which, in cosmetics, could be used in a similar way to gum arabic or other gums such as xanthan. In addition to this, the gum of the cashew is a sub-product of the production of cashew, of which Brazil is the second largest producer in the world and its exploitation on commercial scale has been sought in recent years aiming for a higher increase of income to the North-eastern cashew cultivation. The present project aims to investigate the use of cashew gum in cosmetic applications, through a scientific partnership between the IPT -São Paulo State Institute for Technological Research in São Paulo, the Federal University of Ceará and NATURA, in the ambit of the Biodiversity Bidding Instructions which establishes the support of FAPESP for projects in development with NATURA. A partnership is proposed in the tackling of the technological challenges to be confronted for the use of cashew gum in cosmetic applications, among them, the isolation of the gum through technically and economically viable methods, its physical-chemical and rheological characterization, the evaluation of the potential for the formation of complex coacervates based on cashew gum and quitosane (another natural and biodegradable polymer) or gelatin and the study of the application of these coacervates in the development of semi-permeable membranes and of systems of controlled release of bioactive cosmetic ingredients, an advanced technology which Natura has sought out of the country and in international partnerships. In addition to the technological challenges which the project represents, it falls in line with NATURA's policy of using national regional products, clearly expressed in its line of products based on active natural principles extracted from fruits such as passion fruit, cocoa, andiroba, pitanga, Brazil nut, cupuacu, buriti, coumarou and copaiba. (AU)

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