You only need to watch prime time TV for about 10 minutes to realize that fighting acne has become a big business. The world’s top music and movie stars can be seen nightly touting their triumph over acne-cursed lives, and the products that saved them. In this weeks issue of New Biotechnology, Ashby et al. claim that over $100 million is spent annually in the USA, on anti-acne formulas. The authors of this paper describe a new means of delivering antimicrobial compounds called sophorolipids (SLs) to the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes, the gram positive faculative anaerobe generally responsible for causing acne.
The new delivery system consists of biopolymer matrices as a delivery system for topical applications of SLs. SLs are sugar-based (containing the disaccharide sophorose) biomolecules that are non-toxic to humans, despite showing antibacterial activity to different classes of organisms, depending on the addition of different ligands and structural analogue form. Four formulas were tested, poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB), PHB-co-10%-3-hydroxyhexanoate (PHB/HHx), pectin and alginate. The former two worked best but created a more opaque film than pectin and alginate, which makes the latter better suited for application to the facial areas.
Source to download: Ashby, R. et al. 2011. “Biopolymer scaffolds for use in delivering antimicrobial sophorolipids to the acne-causing bacterium Propionibacterium acnes.” (PDF-file) New Biotechnology Volume 28, Issue 1, 31 January 2011.
Source: About.com, 2011-01-27.