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Exploration of the agricultural waste cacao honey (Theobroma cacao L.) in cosmetic formulations

Grant number: 20/00881-0
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: April 01, 2021 - January 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Pharmacy - Pharmaceutical Technology
Principal Investigator:Fábio Neves dos Santos
Grantee:Fábio Neves dos Santos
Host Company:Fabio Neves dos Santos
CNAE: Fabricação de preparações farmacêuticas
Comércio varejista de cosméticos, produtos de perfumaria e de higiene pessoal
City: Campinas
Associated scholarship(s):21/03652-5 - Exploration of the agricultural waste cacao honey (Theobroma cacao L.) in cosmetic formulations, BP.PIPE


The Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.), considered by the Aztecs as "the food of the Gods", is known worldwide for the chocolate that is produced from the nibs. In the cacao processing for the extraction of the nibs, the cacao honey is discarded as agricultural residue. Cacao honey is a low viscosity liquid with a high amount of reducing sugars such as fructose and sucrose, which has considerable antioxidant activity due to non-volatile bioactive organic compounds, as well as volatile organic compounds, dietary fiber, high levels of vitamin C and minerals Such as potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, manganese, and zinc. However, cacao honey remains neglected by the cacao agro-industry and its use still does not reach 0.5% of all its production and is, therefore, an important asset of Brazilian biodiversity, abundant and practically unexplored economically. In unpublished exploratory research that motivated the present project, some of the volatile and non-volatile bioactive compounds and some metallic elements of the cacao honey were identified, opening up a great perspective for its direct application or in the form of extracts concentrated in cosmetic products. Among the several bioactive compounds present in cacao honey are the phenolic compounds and flavonoids that are responsible for their antioxidant activity. It is also necessary to investigate whether there are antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities and which compounds are responsible for these properties. The main objective of this project is to develop a new generation of cosmetic products with antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties associated with cacao honey, leading to better use and sustainable use of this active Brazilian biodiversity. To achieve these objectives, the Santa Maria and Cacau Cantagalo farms, which develop organic cocoa crops and are located in the southern region of Bahia, will carry out the extraction of cacao honey for supply. The prospection of bioactive organic compounds, fundamental for obtaining new products for the cosmetic industry, will be held at the Cacao Labs science-based Startup which has created to made innovation on Cacao cosmetics and will be responsible for the formulation trials with the incorporation of fresh cacao honey or the concentrated extract. The final product, containing different proportions/concentrations of cacao honey, will be submitted to in vitro preclinical tests for toxicity and antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory efficacy tests carried out at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences (FCF-Unicamp). Once the efficacy and safety are proven, Cacao Labs will seek to innovate by developing a new cosmetic product, more sustainable with the incorporation of cacao honey, and other ingredients from renewable sources, and which presents great economic potential in the markets national and international. This project, now submitted to PIPE-FAPESP, has already been tested as "Achieving and sustainable use of cacao honey" in the Biota-Entrepreneurship Contest for postgraduate students of Paulista Institutions: Encouragement to Young Creative and Entrepreneurs, and obtained merit as a finalist by getting Ahead of over 100projects! (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa para Inovação FAPESP about research grant:
Waste from cocoa processing converted into raw material for cosmetics  
Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant:
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