Blog 1: Coconut and Medium Chain Triglycerides Infused with Plant Powders to Combat Bacteria

The research project that I have started this fall for the 2018-2019 year, is based on the creation of antimicrobial surfaces using all natural ingredients, along with testing against UV radiation. The title of my project is, “coconut and medium chain triglycerides infused with plant powders to combat bacteria.” The purpose of this project is to infuse exotic butters and natural oils and powders to create a surface that could be used on the skin for people with skin irritations or diseases. Studies have found that natural ingredients have been able to reach the plasma of the skin much quicker and easier compared to other synthetic ingredients. The natural butters and essential oils have therapeutic effects on the skin, which plays into why many cosmetic companies have switched to all natural and organic products. The use of certain butters and natural oils in research has been shown to have effective results due to the antimicrobial properties found within them, which prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Our work focuses on the infusion of the fixed variable shea butter, along with the addition of different natural MCT oils and natural powders like turmeric and maca to create these antimicrobial surfaces. As for the UV testing, each sample created will be tested to see if it can with stand radiation. The goal behind this is to create a surface that can prevent the harmful cancers that come from the UV rays. By the end of this project, there is a hope to have created a natural surface that can help fight against different skin diseases and irritations, along with preventing the cancers that come with UV radiation. Also, I will be presenting my research this spring at the American Chemical Society. Finally, to in the end be able to apply the knowledge from this project with Dr. Rizzo to future research for the cosmetic industry.

The methods for this project have two parts including, the creation of the antimicrobial surface and then taking the surface and testing it with an ultraviolet light.

To create different surfaces, the shea butter must be liquefied by a water bath so that the MCT oils and powders will readily infuse. From there a ratio of about 3:1 will be used as the starting ratio, with shea butter and either oil (mL) or powder (g) respectively. Once results come back for the different rounds of samples then the ratio can be adjusted accordingly. From there the sample is hardened over night at room temperature, or tested for UV radiation. The UV radiation method includes the created surface sample, a zip lock bag, a petri dish, UV radiation detecting beads, and an ultraviolent light. The UV radiation detecting beads are placed in a petri dish that is then zipped in the zip lock bag. From there about 1 mL of the sample is spread evenly over top of the beads and the ultraviolent light is placed over top for about 20 seconds. From there the different samples are rated from 1 to 10, 1 being the worst, by comparing it to the blank sample of just the exotic butter.