Enzyme biocatalysis to boost bioavailability and efficacy of natural active ingredients


*Corresponding author 
Phenbiox, Bologna, Italy


Plant-derived active ingredients still play a primary role in many cosmetic products, but the traditional extraction technologies in use still have considerable limitations in terms of effectiveness, environmental impact and safety. Enzymes are more and more used in several industries as biocatalysers due to key technological advantages such as the high efficiency and selectivity in mild operating conditions (pH, temperature, pressure, etc.). Enzyme-based processes can be used to overcome the limitations of the traditional extraction technologies and through enzyme biocatalysis it is possible to efficiently recover plant phytocomplex in a highly bioavailable form.

This review presents some examples of enzyme-based treatments able to boost the bioavailability of plant-based active ingredients specifically aimed at increasing the cosmetic efficacy through more efficient skin nutrition.


Plant-derived active ingredients still play a primary role in many cosmetic products. This success is due both to an increasing demand of “natural” by consumers and to the effectiveness of many natural molecules. Despite that, the use of plant extracts still has some important limitations due to the effectiveness of the extraction processes and the product/process safety as well as for the relevant environmental impacts of these processes. To produce these extracts traditional extractive technologies are still mainly used, based on the chromatographic affinity principle of the target molecules for the selected mobile phase. In plants, thousands of chemically very different and interesting target molecules are simultaneously present, and this complexity means that the phase extraction technology is not equally effective on all targets as it relies essentially on the specific solubility in the selected solvent. Furthermore, some interesting molecules are covalently linked to the solid structures of plant cell wall tissues or part of them (1). These molecules cannot be extracted with a traditional solvent-based process that is only effective on molec ...