Extremolytes are the basis of our success. These natural molecules are formed inside of extremophilic microorganisms which are one of the smallest and oldest forms of life on earth.
Extremolytes are found in extreme environments such as geysers, deserts, salt lakes, or the polar ice and can survive under conditions such as intense UV radiation, heat, or dryness.
These extremophilic microorganisms possess unique biological defense mechanisms to combat extreme environmental stresses. Extremolytes play an important role in these mechanisms. Extremolytes are low-molecular substances. They stabilize biologic structures such as membranes, proteins, or nucleic acids and protect extremophiles from environmental stress.
Thanks to our intensive research, it was shown that the protective properties of extremophiles, proven for millions of years, have benefits for humans and animals. Consequently, we use these properties successfully in medical devices, cosmetics, and life science products.
Ectoin® is of the most abundant extremolytes found in nature. It was discovered in the 1980s inside halophilic (salt-loving) bacteria in Wadi El Natrun (Natron Valley), Egypt, and is an amino acid derivative.
Ectoin® has cosmotropic properties. Cosmotropic molecules contribute to the stability and structure of water-water interactions. They cause water molecules to interact favourably and stabilize intermolecular interactions in biomolecules such as proteins. Transferred to a biological system, this means that Ectoin® surrounds itself as well as neighboring proteins or cell membranes with a water layer. This structure is named “Ectoin® Hydro Complex”.
Ectoin® itself neither interacts with proteins nor does it enter into cells. Due to the formation of water layers on top of cell membranes or lipids, Ectoin® is able to stabilize these structures and to support their fluidity. Due to this property –and this is the most important factor – Ectoin® is able to protect human epithelia from allergens, UV light, air pollution, heat or dryness. Biomolecules, such as proteins, are strengthened in their native structure so that their activity is ensured. As a result, inflammations that are caused by these stress factors and which are a reason for various inflammatory conditions of the skin, nose, eyes, lung etc., are reduced.
Just imagine the African desert. Not a drop of water for months - only heat, drought, dust and sun. The earth is cracked and the plants look withered. During dry season in the desert, which can last for years, resurrection plants (e. g. Myrothamnus flabellifolia) have to face the loss of all of their cellular water. For every other plant this normally means the overall damage of their cell structure and death. The stress protection molecule Glyceryl Glucoside (also called Gluco-Glycerol or Glycerylglucose) which is the key ingredient of Glycoin® natural, keeps the structures of the Myrothamnus plant alive and protects it from dying despite total desiccation and then, when the rain season begins, it starts to bloom again.
We produce Glycoin® natural which contains only that stereoisomer of Glyceryl Glucoside, which is present as a stress protection molecule in the resurrection plant and blue-green algae ("Spirulina"). In contrast to Ectoin®, which is an amino acid derivate, Glyceryl Glucoside is a sugar derivate.
The mode of action of Glyceryl Glucoside, the main ingredient of Glycoin® natural, is also well understood: In case of extreme dryness it prevents the destruction of cell membranes. If the water in the plant disappears, the surfaces of cell membranes touch each other, resulting in the restructuring of the cell membranes (from fluid to gel structure) and mixing of membrane components (see diagram on the side). When the plant is rehydrated, the natural structures of cells cannot be restored and the plant is dead.
The presence of Glyceryl Glucoside between the cell membranes can limit their close approach and thereby diminish the physical stresses that cause restructuring of the cell membranes (lipid fluid-to-gel phase transitions) during dehydration. Consequently the cell membranes can retain a healthy structure in case of extreme dryness – thanks to Glyceryl Glucoside.