The University of Tours is taking action for cosmetics research
[Article paru dans le magazine Expression Cosmétique N°71 – Septembre/octobre 2021] Since 2015, the university has been a partner of the Cosmétosciences programme along with the CNRS, Le Studium and Cosmetic Valley, led by the University of Orléans. 4 of the university’s laboratories, with diverse skills related to the study of plant biotechnology, the vectorisation of active ingredients or the development of extraction processes and imaging, are associated with this regional research network, which includes 12 academic laboratories i.e. 23 multidisciplinary research teams.
A snapshot of the skills in the 4 University of Tours laboratories.
Biomolecules and Plant Biotechnology (BBV)
The Biomolecules and Plant Biotechnology laboratory works on the identification and the genetic and phytochemical characterisation of the specialised plant metabolism, many metabolites of which are used in cosmetic formulations. BBV has integrated the Cosmétosiences programme into two collaborative projects: Valbiocosm (2017-2020) and Innocosm (2020-2023) under which it is developing new supply sources of these metabolites, either through mastery of in vitro cultures of plants of interest, or through the enhancement of co-products (grapevine and flax) sourced from regional sectors. These collaborative projects with manufacturing partners that supply ingredients should allow these new raw material supply channels to be developed in an eco-friendly context.
Nanomedicines and nanoprobes
The laboratory (NMNS) is a driving force for innovation in the formulation of cosmetic bioactive ingredients and in the quality control and objectivation of the finished product. The team has specific expertise in vibrational spectroscopy, molecular imaging and chemometric data processing approaches. These skills are used to study the impact of the ingredients and the rheology of the products on their effectiveness. In the framework of the Cosmétosciences programme, NMNS is leading the MINIONS project, looking at the combination of non-invasive methods in skin analysis. Raman spectroscopy is included as a tool for biochemical characterisation and for objectivation on volunteers. NMNS also brings its skills to the PIERIC project, in which its task is to study the impact of the incorporation of innovative green plant extracts in cosmetic formulas.
Synthesis and Isolation of Bioactive Molecules
The laboratory (SIMBA) is working on the development of new eco-friendly processes to access new cosmetic ingredients from biomasses. In particular, the laboratory specialises in the design and development of Natural Deep Eutectic Solvents (NaDES) for the enhancement of metabolites sourced from microalguae and higher plant species. In the context of the Cosmétosciences programme, the team is working on the PIERIC project, which focuses on the development of eco-designed alternatives for access to metabolites from plants. The SIMBA laboratory is particularly involved in the enhancement of apolar metabolites using the NaDES approach.
Imaging and the Brain
For more than 30 years, the Ultrasound team has conducted research in the field of high resolution ultrasonic imaging to observe skin structures (epidermis, dermis) in a non-invasive way. It works with the dermatology department of the CHRU in Tours and has collaborated with many dermocosmetics manufacturers. This team has internationally recognised expertise and state-of-the-art equipment to conduct its research in the fields of ultrasound, photo-acoustics and elastography for ultrasound frequencies between 20MHz and 80MHz. It is involved in the MINIONS research project to perfect new devices coupling ultrasound and optics to measure the skin penetration kinetics of molecules.