A lot of rot: How is beauty harnessing the power of fermentation?

In a world of diminishing resources, fermentation might be the answer to the future of beauty sourcing. But this is a delicate process, as Cosmetics Business discovers

Without fermentation, we would not have bread, yoghurt, beer, wine or – much to the chagrin of hipsters – kombucha.

This use of microorganisms to transform a feedstock into a more valuable or desirable product has been utilised by humanity since around 7,000BC, even if our ancestors had no knowledge of the invisible powerhouses behind this process; there is evidence, for instance, that Neolithic Chinese societies used fruit, honey and rice to make an alcoholic beverage.

It was Louis Pasteur’s experiments in the 1850s and 60s which were the game changers, jumping on the back of earlier work by scientists including Charles Cagniard de la Tour, Theodor Schwann and Friedrich Traugott Kützing to demonstrate how the fermentation we’d relied upon for millennia was actually initiated by living organisms, rather than merely being a chemical change as previously thought.

But the benefits of fermentation for early humans goes back a lot, lot further, as Patrick Gonry, Business Development Manager at ingredients supplier Gobiotics, explains.

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