Wax from arctic berries can become new products

Published: 9 July 2018

Researchers will explore the possibility of using wax from arctic berries to create new products in cosmetics, dental and packaging materials. The berry wax has a unique chemical composition that will now be studied further.

Around berries like lingonberry, blueberry and cloudberry is a protective layer of wax.

– There are plenty of wild berries in the Arctic region but currently little of the wax is extracted and used. When making juices and other products from berries, the wax becomes a residual product that is currently being discarded. Instead, we want to take advantage of the berry wax and increase the value of the raw material for the berry industry, says Roberts Joffe, Professor of Polymeric Composite Materials at Luleå University of Technology.

In the Interreg project WAX – Natural Wax of Arctic Berries as Our Treasure, researchers from Luleå University of Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu University of Applied Sciences and the Norwegian Research Institute NIBIO will investigate how the arctic wax could be used.

– We want to demonstrate the potential for berry wax. These unique features can be used for new niche products. For example, berry wax can provide cosmetic products advantages such as protection against UV radiation and antibacterial properties, says Roberts Joffe.

Wax extracts of blueberry, lingonberry and cloudberry in the Arctic will be recovered from side streams produced in the berry industry. Apart from cosmetics the researchers also see opportunities to use wax in dental care products, packaging and to develop and manufacture new polymeric composite materials.

The research project, which has a budget of one million Euro, is multidisciplinary and involves expertise in the fields of biology, chemistry, nanotechnology, materials science and marketing. The researchers at Luleå University of Technology will, among other things, characterize how materials based on berry wax can handle different loads and temperatures.

The overall objective of the project is to develop new products and increase the competitiveness of companies in the Arctic region.

– We want to be able to show examples of existing products by local businesses that can be improved by using wild berry wax, as well as to communicate that Arctic berries is a treasure we should appreciate. A product based on wild berries that is produced in Scandinavia should have a good chance of becoming a strong brand, says Roberts Joffe.

Contact

Roberts Joffe

Joffe, Roberts - Professor

Organization: Polymeric Composite Materials, Material Science, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics
Phone: +46 (0)920 491940
Room: E295 - Luleå»

In the media

Tags