Hevea brasiliensis, commonly known as rubber seed trees, serves as the primary natural latex source. In 2023, the global harvested area of rubber seed trees exceeds an impressive 12.9 million tons.
Despite the substantial yield and the fact that rubber seeds are rich in bioactive compounds and various phytochemicals renowned for their antioxidant properties, they are often treated as byproducts.
In addressing the knowledge gap, a team of researchers from Indonesia and Malaysia reviewed 108 papers, including journal articles and conference proceedings, to highlight the potential of rubber tree seeds and evaluate the impact green extraction methods on enhancing the purity of their content.
Skin care benefits from rubber seed extracts
Researchers noted that rubber seed oil is a significant reservoir of tocopherols, vitamin E, and tocotrienols, which are known for their antioxidant properties.
In the realm of cosmetics, tocopherols and tocotrienols from rubber seed oil act as protective shields against oxidative stress, UV radiation, and environmental pollutants.
Playing a pivotal role in supporting skin health, these elements also contribute to reducing signs of aging while preserving skin elasticity and hydration.
The versatility of rubber seed oil and its derivatives extends to the formulation of skin care products like moisturisers, serums, and anti-aging creams, offering consumers natural and efficacious solutions for their skin care needs.
On the other hand, Squalene, a natural hydrocarbon inherent in rubber seed oil, has gained acclaim in the cosmetics industry for its exceptional moisturising properties.
Its structural similarity to the skin's natural lipids, particularly sebum, renders it highly compatible with human skin. This compatibility positions squalene as an effective emollient and skin conditioner.
Upon topical application, squalene aids in hydrating and nourishing the skin, sealing in moisture, and preventing water loss. This not only enhances skin hydration but also improves its softness and elasticity.
The remarkable ability of squalene to penetrate the skin's barrier facilitates the delivery of other beneficial compounds, including vitamins and antioxidants, deeper into the skin, maximising their effectiveness. As a result, squalene becomes an indispensable component in numerous anti-ageing and reparative skin care formulations.
Green extraction and purity of rubber seed content
Researchers of the current review had observed a scarcity of research publications dedicated to green extraction methods for rubber seed trees compared to the more prevalent focus on conventional techniques like Soxhlet extraction.
They believe the discrepancy could be attributed to the Soxhlet extraction’s long history and existing lab resources and equipment tend to be tailored to such conventional method.
As such, this review underscores the importance of fostering innovation, considering funding implications, and aligning with established industrial processes to potentially shift the prevailing dominance of conventional methods in favour of green extraction.
Green extraction methods offer the advantage of precisely targeting desired compounds while simultaneously minimising the extraction of undesirable components.
By isolating specific compounds of interest, these techniques notably enhance the purity of extracted substances, reducing the necessity for additional purification steps.
The overarching objective is to not only safeguard the chemical structure of these compounds but also preserve their biological activity, ensuring their efficacy for use in pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and cosmetic products.
“By harnessing the potential of green extraction, researchers and industries can unlock the bioactive treasures of rubber seeds while minimising their ecological footprint.” Researchers wrote.
“[After all], Rubber seed trees, often underutilized, hold within them a wealth of bioactive compounds with applications ranging from pharmaceuticals to cosmetics and beyond.”
Source: Applied Sciences
Green Extraction of Valuable Compounds from Rubber Seed Trees: A Path to Sustainability
Authors: Nicky Rahmana Putra et al.