Newswise — BOSTON, Dec. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A team of researchers from Manhattan College in collaboration with Evolved By Nature published this week in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science that natural silk may play a role in reducing our dependence on petroleum-derived surfactants. The research demonstrated that a natural silk protein (Activated Silk™ 10S) synergized with capryl glucoside (a sugar surfactant) produced a highly effective natural co-surfactant system. Notably, the discovery showed better surface tension and cleansing properties than industry-standard surfactants such as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). The findings highlight the potential to replace petroleum-derived surfactants used in many personal care products on the market today with a sustainably produced and biodegradable chemistry that does not harm human or environmental health. The peer-reviewed research forms the basis of a new patent application.

"The collaboration with Evolved By Nature clearly highlighted that high-performance, natural personal care formulations can be effectively designed through engineering the interactions and microstructure in these natural surfactant systems," says Professor Samiul Amin, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Manhattan College. "Activated Silk was seen as a highly promising natural alternative to petroleum derived surfactants in providing excellent foaming, cleansing and rheology performance through synergistic interactions with natural surfactants and polysaccharides."

The $42 billion global surfactant market is primarily driven by home and industrial uses, where these chemicals are used in products such as cleansers, soaps and detergents. Unfortunately, most surfactants are derived from oil and fracked gas and are not degradable in the environment, which has enormous health consequences for both people and the planet.

The extraction and manufacture of petroleum-based surfactants causes damage to the environment and is associated with negative health outcomes for individuals living near manufacturing plants. These synthetic chemicals have well-documented negative impacts on aquatic organisms and ecosystems as a result of runoff from untreated or improperly treated wastewater. Non-biodegradable, petroleum-based surfactants accumulate in the environment and can re-enter the human food chain via consumption of fish and other aquatic animals. In addition, continual application of oil-derived chemistries directly to the skin can lead to irritation and some are potentially carcinogenic. Natural silk protein is not only functional, but biocompatible with the human body and naturally biodegradable in the environment.

"The results from this collaboration with Dr. Amin represent another example of the versatility of the different silk-derived molecules resulting from Evolved By Nature's Activated Silk platform," says Dr. Carlos Bosques, VP of Research and Innovation at Evolved By Nature. "The ability to replace synthetic surfactants with natural, biodegradable alternatives is another step forward in our mission to advance the world's health by unlocking the power of silk."

Activated Silk™ 10S can be found in Evolved By Nature's recently launched This Is Hand Soap products, available on

An early-access version of the paper is currently available via the Wiley Online Library.

About Manhattan College
Manhattan College is a private, liberal arts college in the Bronx in New York City, offering undergraduate programs in the arts, business, education, health, engineering and science. Graduate programs are offered for education, business and engineering.

About Evolved By Nature

Evolved By Nature™ is on a mission to create products that are better performing and healthier for people and the planet. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Evolved By Nature's chemistry platform is based on its patented Activated Silk™ technology, which is pure silk in liquid form. Activated Silk replaces many of the harsh, hidden synthetic polymers, plastics and additives commonly used to make products in industries ranging from textiles to personal care to medical. Activated Silk can be configured into dozens of different molecular compositions to achieve desired results. Evolved By Nature is backed by a diverse group of investors, including The Kraft Group, Jeff Vinik, Roy Disney and Chanel.

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International Journal of Cosmetic Science