Navigation Links
How to make high-end perfumes without whale barf
Date:4/4/2012

University of British Columbia researchers have identified a gene in balsam fir trees that could facilitate cheaper and more sustainable production of plant-based fixatives and scents used in the fragrance industry and reduce the need for ambergris, a substance harvested from whale barf.

When sperm whales consume sharp objects, such as seashells and fish bones, their gut produces a sticky substance to protect their digestive organs. They then regurgitate the mixture much like cats throwing up fur balls and the vomit, reacting with seawater, turns into rock-like objects that wash ashore. These are collected and refined for their fixative properties. Called ambergris, the scented compound is added to high-end perfumes to help the fragrance stay on the skin longer.

The discovery was led by Prof. Joerg Bohlmann and postdoctoral research associate Philipp Zerbe at UBC's Michael Smith Laboratories. Details are published in the April 6 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

"The use of ambergris in the fragrance industry has been controversial," says Bohlmann, who is a professor of Botany and Forest Sciences. "First of all, it's an animal byproduct and the use of such in cosmetics has been problematic, not to mention it comes from the sperm whale, an endangered species."

Even though much of the ambergris approved for use today is manually collected along the shorelines of known sperm whale habitats in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and in the Caribbean, it is still a costly venture. In the Mediterranean, sage has been cultivated for the production of a plant-based substitute of ambergris, but yields are variable and can be unpredictable, similar to manual collection of ambergris.

"We've now discovered that a gene from balsam fir is much more efficient at producing such natural compounds, which could make production of this bio-product less expensive and more sustainable," says Bohlmann.

The discovery and related technology is currently being commercialized through UBC's Industry Liaison Office. The research was supported by Genome Canada, Genome British Columbia, and Genome Alberta through the PhytoMetaSyn Project, and through grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joerg Bohlmann
bohlmann@msl.ubc.ca
604-822-0282
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Even natural perfumes may cause allergies
2. No entry without protein recycling: RUB researchers discover new coherence in enzyme transport
3. Potatoes lower blood pressure in people with obesity and hypertension without increasing weight
4. No future without scarce metals
5. System to deliver organ transplant drug -- without harmful side effects
6. A new method for testing allergenic substances without experimental animals
7. Green routing can cut car emissions without significantly slowing travel time
8. Alternate ending -- living on without telomerase
9. Growing without cell division
10. Researchers do precise gene therapy without a needle
11. Can antivirulence drugs stop infections without causing resistance?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/4/2017)...  GCE Solutions, a global clinical research organization (CRO), announces the ... on October 4, 2017. Shadow is designed to assist medical writers ... 0070 of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in meeting the requirements ... ... ...
(Date:6/30/2017)... 2017 Today, American Trucking Associations announced ... face and eye tracking software, became the newest ... "Artificial intelligence and advanced sensing ... a driver,s attentiveness levels while on the road.  ... detect fatigue and prevent potential accidents, which could ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ... of online age and identity verification solutions, announced today ... Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May 17, 2017, ... Building and International Trade Center. Identity ... globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... CALIF. (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... San ... part of its corporate rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new look is ... reach, as the company moves into a significant growth period. , It will also ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 2017 SomaGenics announced the receipt of a ... RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), expected to be the first commercially ... microRNAs) from single cells using NGS methods. The NIH,s ... accelerate development of approaches to analyze the heterogeneity of ... techniques for measuring levels of mRNAs in individual cells ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national ... Christopher Stubbs, a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been ... a member of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... , Oct. 6, 2017  The 2017 Nobel ... three scientists, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank ... in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have helped ... the structural biology community. The winners worked with ... now routinely produce highly resolved, three-dimensional images of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: