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Development of a natural shampoo with antifungal properties from the hexane extract of Agave sisalana

Grant number: 14/11462-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2014
Effective date (End): June 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Pharmacology - Ethnopharmacology
Principal researcher:Lucinéia dos Santos
Grantee:Julia Longo de Faria
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Letras (FCL-ASSIS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Assis. Assis , SP, Brazil


Brazil holds the greatest biodiversity on the planet, but it keeps an immense medicinal flora still unknown, little studied, and underexplored. Through specific literature is possible to observe that, although Brazil is the largest world producer of sisal, Agave sisalana, the number of scientific studies about its mucilage, the waste resulting from shredding the leaves of this plant, is limited. Very little is known about the pharmacological actions of the sisal juice, as well as its chemical composition. On the other hand, the bad effects of dermatophyte fungi that cause some harmful skin and scalp diseases is becoming even more frequent nowadays. Considering that the few researches carried out up to now in our laboratory, and still unpublished, have already shown a potent antifungal action from sisal hexanic extract, this project aims to explore the antifungal effects of this extract, as well as to test the efficiency of a shampoo, topical use, made from this same extract against dermatophytes. Furthermore, considering that the synthetic surfactants present in commercial antifungal shampoos could attack skin and scalp cells, this project also aims to develop a natural surfactant from sisal. In complement, considering that saponins present in sisal juice could promote cell lysis, the toxicological potential of the shampoo will be determinated in order to establish the security conditions of its use. This project is a cooperation between UNESP and SECTI (UNESP - Universidade Estadual Paulista; SECTI - Secretaria de Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação da Bahia) and seeks a technical-scientifical solution, economically viable, for the use of sisal waste that has being mostly discarded; it also seeks sustainable development and social promotion of the sisal-producing region, which lies among the country's poorest areas.

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