Prawn shell shampoo idea has scientists in lather
Published 26/08/2015 | 15:24
It may sound fishy, but prawns could be a key ingredient in shampoos and washing powders in the future.
Scientists at Glyndwr University believe that molecules found in the crustaceans' shells can be extracted and used instead of synthetic polymers to make personal and home care products.
Polymers are added to a range of industrial formulations - such as cosmetics and paints - to control their thickness and extend their shelf-life.
But Glyndwr University researchers say natural polymers are more environmentally-friendly than synthetic ones because they are not made from petro-chemicals.
They are now concluding a £1 million two-year research project with industrial partners Croda, Almac Group and Seagarden and are hopeful of a breakthrough.
Professor Pete Williams said: "We've now reached the stage where we've developed a new polymer which is now being tested in personal and home care formulations.
"Chitosan (a material made by treating crustaceans' shells with sodium hydroxide) has been around for a long time, but we have developed a method of modifying it to give it enhanced properties.
"The prawn shells would normally be disposed of as waste so, ultimately, the aim of the project is to make the production of personal and home care products greener."