Petrochemical synthetic-based components have become increasingly unwelcomed in cosmetics and personal care industry due to public awareness of their long-term risks to the environment and human health. The regulations against their use and the promotion of a low carbon economy have created great pressure to shift to natural, safer, and more environmentally friendly ingredients. Biopolymers can contribute to the solution of this problem because their physicochemical characteristics are interesting not only for their wide biotechnological and biomedical applications, but also thanks to their biodegradability, biocompatibility and non-toxicity.
Cyanobacteria are powerful phototrophic cell-factories capable of sequestering CO2 and thus contributing to mitigate climate change, being prolific sources of added-value biocompounds. An especially interesting example is Cyanoflan, a carbohydrate polymer naturally secreted in high amounts by a marine cyanobacterium with low nutritional needs (sun light & sea water), which isolation requires minimal extraction steps resulting in a cost-effective product. Cyanoflan can be used in cosmetic and pharma formulations as a rheology modifier (thickener/stabilizer) while contributing to the protection and regeneration of the skin through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Moreover, the cultivation of this strain leads to a constant supply of green materials: the extracellular polymer Cyanoflan and the biomass surplus, achieving a zero-waste value chain.