L’Oréal to co-develop biosynthetic ingredient for cosmetics

GM ingredients may find their way into every day cosmetic products following L’ORÉAL’s recently signed agreement with Evolva for the co-development of novel biosynthetic production routes for an ingredient that, they say, has broad applications within the cosmetics industry.

Synthetic biology is a new science, a form of genetic modification that involves the laboratory creation of entirely new DNA sequences to create new synthetic life forms or for splicing this DNA into naturally occurring DNA.

The two companies will use Evolva’s fermentation technology platform to develop and optimise yeast strains for the “sustainable, cost-effective production of this strategically important cosmetics ingredient”.

Sarah Brown, founder of organic brand Pai Skincare, commented on the development: “My concern with the cosmetic use of GM ingredients is that they are entirely unregulated and have no safety testing record. Right now they are an unknown quantity. I suspect the motivation behind their introduction is to ease sourcing and guarantee a consistency of supply.

“However, I’d like to understand why these synbio ingredients are considered beneficial and a ‘breakthrough’ for the end customer. I would strongly question whether they have superior skin benefits compared to their natural equivalents.”