Blog 3: An Exotic Butter Formulation to Enhance Bacterial Resistance and UV Protection

Rudra Persaud

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.

Blog #2: Exotic Butter Formulation to Enhance Bacterial Resistance and UV Protection

During the entirety of the fall semester I have devoted time to participate in research with Dr. Jaimelee Rizzo- under Dr. Rizzo’s supervision, I synthesized antimicrobial surfaces. Our formulation of surfaces is produced via the combination of various organic butters as a base and the strategic addition of plant-based oils and powders to promote the healing effects produced by the butters.

The defining feature of this research project lies in exploring natural ways to prevent and cure bacterial infection while preventing UV damage produced by natural causes. With the understanding that Tamanu butter, Aloe Vera butter, and Ucuuba butter are known to have soothing antimicrobial effects, we wish to find chemical counterparts that are found from other organic sources that work synergistically to enhance the probability of the desired outcomes. To date I have generated about 130 samples- 62 have proven to have great antimicrobial resistance and 74 have ample UV resistance. Of all samples, 44 have demonstrated the best outcome of having both antimicrobial resistance and UV resistance.

As the primary researcher, the biggest question I have is what are ways that I can revise the samples that did not work to further enhance their effects to produce the desired epidermic outcome. By exploring the effect of adding powdered supplements such as Graviola, wheatgrass, or sacred mushroom I hope to multiply the healing and protective effects of samples. Another question that comes up during research involves understanding what other bacterial strains can be tested to ensure we are making a holistic cure to infection. So far, the bacteria we study in relation to antimicrobial resistance is E. coli, S. aureus, and P. aeruginosa.

The problem-solving methodology used to address questions like these rely on prior observations and informative literature searches to find potent organic chemicals that prevent infections and disease- by relying on past works conducted, I can stand on the shoulders of past researchers who have studied the chemical make up of plants and role that plant chemicals play in bacterial resistance.

Exotic Butter Formulation to Enhance Bacterial Resistance and UV Protection

Rudra Persaud and Dr. Jaimelee Rizzo

My research project aims to enhance the cosmetic chemistry world by introducing a novel line of antimicrobial surfaces derived from a synergetic fusion of exotic butters, plant-based essential oils, and plant-based powder supplements. Antimicrobial surfaces are any agent that has a potential to inhibit the growth and development of microorganisms- bacterial and fungus being the target group in this study. In addition to having this retardation effect, we also examine the potential for our antimicrobial surfaces in repelling the absorption of UV light. The ingredients that constitute the basis of our formulation are ucuuba butter, aloe vera butter, and tamanu butter; the variable ingredients include a wide variety of oils and powders including, but not limited to, chaulmoogra oil, Jamaican black castor oil, dragon’s blood, marine phytoplankton, and sacred mushroom. The products that we generate in our lab are considered vegan and 100% organic- one of the biggest trends found in the cosmetology market is a global shift for consumers to favor products that are derived naturally instead of synthetically. In general, natural skin products are earth-friendly, biodegradable, reduce any uncomfortable chemical irritation, are nutrient rich with natural fatty acids, and prevent adverse chemical imbalances. The overall premise of this project is to provide more natural means to sterile wound healing techniques and prevent harmful cancers caused by UV rays.

The antimicrobial surfaces are synthesized and tested for UV resistance in our research lab at Pace University, but to test for antimicrobial resistance our samples are sent to a partner university, Long Island University Post.

To generate the antimicrobial surface, the individual butters used are initially liquefied through the use of a hot water bath. About 4 mL of each sample is aliquoted into a beaker and 2 mL of an essential oil is infused. The mixture is then plated in a petri dish and left to solidify at room temperature.

Using a tryptic soy agar plate, 0.8 cm plugs of agar were removed. 175 µL of each butter and oil sample was liquefied and placed in different agar holes, which were left to be hardened. 100 µL of 106 S. aureus was spread on the agar using a sterile spreader and each plate was left to incubate overnight at 37 °C. Antimicrobial activity was assessed based on if the zones of clearance were greater than 1 cm around each sample plug.

Following the creation of the surface, UV radiation tests are conducted. Each antimicrobial formulation is generated using the above procedure. A ziplock bag is filled with UV detecting color beads, and each antimicrobial surface is applied evenly over the bag. Each bag is then placed under UV radiation for about 20 seconds. Samples were then rated based on how drastic the color change was in relation to a blank sample of individual butters and a comparative sunscreen.