Colourants from class II roses as high-quality raw material for the cosmetics industry

Centre of Expertise for Plant Compounds


It is technically possible and looks promising from a market perspective to extract anthocyanins from class II roses and use them as an alternative to synthetic colourants. This is highlighted by an analysis conducted by FloraHolland, the Centre of Expertise for Plant Compounds and Feyecon. Because these natural colourants in roses are also effective as antioxidants, their use in cosmetic products against skin ageing, wrinkles and sun damage would seem to be a logical next step.

Anthocyanins are red-purple colourants found in red roses, aubergines and red cabbage. In the exploratory study, an anthocyanin mixture is extracted from class II roses of the Red Naomi and Passion red rose varieties. Supercritical CO2 was used for this extraction. Using this extraction method, more than 80% of the anthocyanins in the roses can be isolated in a sustainable way.  These natural colourants must be coated so that they remain stable and tenable. In the exploratory study, different types of coating were used and their functionality was tested. This shows that anthocyanins in class II roses, when encapsulated in a good coating, can be used not only as a colourant but also as plant antioxidants and antimicrobial or anti-inflammatory preparations.  That makes the cosmetics industry is a potential sales market for plant anthocyanins extracted from roses.

An initial analysis of cost prices and market prices shows that the business case would be very interesting if the scale was extensive enough. To realise that scale on the production side, it would be necessary to extract colourants from several types of flowers and vegetables. This could also mean year-round supply.

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