The first cosmetic active derived from the new technology developed by BiotechMarine, a SEPPIC subsidiary specialising in bioactive natural substances, extracted from seaweeds and marine plants, to cultivate macro-algal cells in the laboratory, Ephemer is a gametophyte extract from Undaria Pinnatifida, a brown seaweed known as wakame in Japan and harvested in Brittany by the company. The interest of gametophytes is that they accumulate anti-oxidant cells, but their availability in the ocean is very limited as they constitute an ephemeral stage in the life cycle of the seaweed.

© BiotechMarine and Heos Marine

© BiotechMarine and Heos Marine

The in-vitro cultivation of macroalgae cells allows to stabilise the gametophytes and to multiply them in order to use their properties for cosmetic purposes.

Antioxidant action

According to SEPPIC, the extract thus obtained showed its antioxidant efficacy in both the short- and long-term uses. “Ephemer protects the skin, after 24 hours by acting on the mitochondria, causing momentaneous reduction of free radicals. After 8 days, Ephemer preserves mitochondrial DNA, which is essential for proper mitochondrial function,” claims SEPPIC.

This property has been confirmed through in-vivo testing. “After 28 days, the skin shows a better ability to fight free radicals, versus placebo, a cause of skin aging. After 56 days, the skin’s micro-relief has markedly improved compared to placebo,” adds SEPPIC.

© BiotechMarine

© BiotechMarine

SEPPIC’s in vitro macro-algal cells culture technology is offering a new marine source of active ingredients. Indeed, "Macroalgae cells have the amazing ability to transform light and minerals into organic molecules,” explains Erwan Le Gélébart, R&D Project Manager at BiotechMarine.

Actually, since the rich marine biodiversity contains thousands of macro-algae species - for instance, the sea surrounding France’s Bréhat archipelago, in front of BiotechMarine’s headquarters, contains hundreds of species - the new technology is now making it possible to create a bank of macro-algal cells from the many species whose compositions and effects on skin have yet to be explored.