March 11, 2019
An Exotic Butter Formulation to Enhance Bacterial Resistance and UV Protection
Dr. Jaimelee Rizzo
My research is progressively culminating in finding the best antimicrobial formulation that will give rise to UV protection. So far I have been able to create 129 different samples- 63 samples were able to demonstrate antimicrobial resistance and 75 samples demonstrated UV light protection. Of these, 45 of them were proven to have both UV and antimicrobial protection properties.
As we continue down this research path, one question that I have is how can we lower the concentration of exotic butter, essential oil, and powder supplement combination to generate a product that will have a low risk for being toxic to humans. Although plant-based fatty acids and other metabolites do a great job at killing bacteria, at high concentration they may be harmful to human health- as the saying goes, too much of a good thing is bad. Another question/ challenge that comes up is how can we address the shelf life of these products we are creating. This question would require keeping samples stored over time and progressively testing them against bacteria every month. It is important that we can create an antimicrobial surface that has great resistance to bacteria and provide UV resistance over the course of months without the need for chemical additive/ preservative because the mission to keep everything all natural.
While we move forward with this project with these questions in mind, I am also actively seeking new essential oils that can be used to enhance my arsenal of antimicrobial surfaces to consider for moving to the production steps of this project. Some oils that have previously worked successfully to reach both outcomes include bergamot, ginger, cinnamon cassia, patchouli, kukui, petitgrain, cedar wood, rosehip, sweet marjoram, cumin, hemp, vetiver, chaulmoogra and the powder supplements that have been successful include marine powder, ginseng, and sacred mushroom. For the next wave of surfaces created, oils such as bael, cranberry seed, and calendula seem to have ideal chemical constituents that will work for both antimicrobial activity and UV resistance.
So far Dr. Rizzo has been a great mentor in helping me stay on track with research, the school year can get hectic and it is easy to lose time. Dr. Rizzo has also pushed me to present my research on many different platforms as well, in fact, I am looking forward to presenting my research in a national American Chemical Society Conference in Orlando (special thanks to the Office of Student Success for helping fund this trip!).
My biggest take away from this project is that often times research leads to more questions than answers, and because of this patience is key. Although some of our formulations did not work successfully, we are constantly trying to make them work by adding more natural products to increase their effects- but again this may be a double-edged sword because we do not want to create a toxic product.