Mannosylerythritol lipids (MELs) are produced from vegetable oils by different strains of the genus Pseudozyma at a yield of over 100 grams per liter, according to
As they have a similar structure and biochemical action to ceramides, commonly used skin moisturizing ingredients, the scientists decided to investigate the effects of the compounds on damaged skin.
The team, led by Tomotake Morita of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Ibaraki, Japan, used a three dimensional cultured human skin model in order to investigate the compound’s effects on the skin.
With soybean oil as a substrate, the scientists used the yeast Pseudozyma Antarctica to produce MELs, which were then purified leaving only MEL-A for the experiment.
Cells in the human skin model were damaged by the detergent sodium docecyl sulphate (SDS) before being treated with different concentrations of MEL-A, with ceramide and olive oil as controls. Cells not damaged by SDS were used as a benchmark control to which the effect of the treatments could be compared.
According to the study, 5 percent MEL-A and 10 percent MEL-A led to a recovery rate of 73 and 91 percent respectively. Although the effect of the MEL-A is not as significant as the 100 percent recovery seen with the 1 percent ceramide, their ability to induce cell recovery is significantly higher than that of olive oil which had little effect.
Furthermore, the researchers claim that the commercial production of ceramides is challenging, whereas MEL-A is produced in abundant quantities by the yeast strains.
In conclusion, Morita and the team state that MEL-A has great potential as a novel
skin care material, as it possesses good moisturizing potential and an advantage in large scale preparation.
Source: Journal of Oleo Science 2009, vol 58, issue 12, pages 639-642