Ectoine: a little-known ingredient with extraordinary reparative and protective properties
What is ectoine?
Have you ever considered how living beings, whether plants or microorganisms, manage to survive under unfavourable external conditions, such as great heat, strong frost and high salt concentrations? They have developed a number of adaptive and protective mechanisms that allow them to function in these situations.
Several species of bacteria, called extremophilic (with the ability to grow in environmental conditions considered extreme) contain ectoine, (1,4,5,6-tetrahydro-2-methyl-4-pyrimidinecarboxylic acid), a natural compound also called extremolyte, which serves to stabilize the physiological properties of the cells and protect them from external osmotic stress, caused by high salinity, heat, loss of water and UV irradiation.
In other words, when the cells of these extremophilic bacteria are under the influence of osmotic stress (physiologic dysfunction caused by a sudden change in the solute concentration around a cell), they initiate mechanisms which respond to extreme conditions. When the osmotic pressure is too high, osmoprotective substances, like ectoine, are being produced, to bring stability and improve the hydration of the cell.
In this manner, ectoine finds numerous applications in the cell protection of the human body.
Ectoine features and applications
Ectoine shows many beneficial features and has multiple applications. It can contribute in the prevention of stress mediators and the natural protection of cells, while it has lubrication and hydration effect, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic activity.
Ectoine in dermatology and cosmetology applications
High temperature, UV radiation, wind, water and air pollution are factors that affect our skin health. Ectoine has commercial uses as an enzyme stabilizer and as a cell protectant in skin care applications. It is widely used in cosmetics, as it speeds up the defence system of the skin and it has a great anti-aging effect by softening and reducing wrinkles. In dermatology, it is often contained in cream preparations for the treatment of skin dryness, roughness and scaliness (atopic dermatitis, psoriasis), UV-induced sunburn cells and overall skin dehydration.
Ectoine in nasal sprays and the treatment of eye disorders
Thanks to its lubricating effect, ectoine is also administered for the treatment of eye disorders. It relieves irritation and inflammation by stabilizing the watery layer and the lipid layer of the tear film, ensuring optimal lubrication. Ectoine increases the binding of water with the cells of the ocular surface acting as a mechanism against allergenic substances and providing relief and improvement of the disturbing allergic symptoms.
Ectoine is also used in nasal sprays to treat symptoms of respiratory impairment, induced by carbon-related lung inflammation, allergic rhinitis or asthma.
Ectoine for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis
In recent pilot studies, ectoine was tested for the prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis, especially in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) (Nature, (2019) 9:6594).
We offer high quality synthetic ectoine, ≥98% (HPLC)
Low biological burden
Contrary to fermentation, our synthetic ectoine has low biological burden, which makes it, readily suitable for all applications.
Cost-effective high-volume production
We have developed and optimized our chemical process in-house for safe, lean and scalable cGMP manufacturing, providing significant economic benefits for high volume production.